By Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org
Tough-talking Broward Property Appraiser Lori Parrish called it a “tax dodge” four years ago when Pastor Frederick “Sonny” Irons asked her to grant his $1.9 million Fort Lauderdale waterfront estate tax-exemption as a church.
“Everyone knows what a real church is, and this isn’t it,” Parrish told the Sun-Sentinel after she rejected Irons’ request.
But Parrish has changed her mind about Irons’ tiny Seafarer’s Church of the Creator.
In December, without announcement, Parrish settled a three-year-old lawsuit with Irons by agreeing to grant his application for tax-exempt status for 2006, but not for 2005. The deal reversed Parrish’s original decision to deny the exemption for both years and meant Broward’s tax collector couldn’t collect about $33,000 in property taxes assessed for 2006.
More importantly, Parrish has given her official blessing to a perpetual property tax exemption for the two-story brown brick home at 1309 SW Fifth Court where Irons and his wife, Judy, reside. That means the valuable parcel astride the north fork of the New River is now legally a church and parsonage, and the city and county can no longer collect taxes on it.