PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The church where a former Portsmouth City Council member serves as an assistant pastor has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
New Bethel Baptist Church, at 4212 Greenwood Drive, filed for bankruptcy Sept. 23, according to court documents filed in bankruptcy court for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Court documents estimate the church has about $4.03 million in liabilities and nearly $1.5 million in assets. $1.35 million of those assets are in real property.
Mark Whitaker, a former Portsmouth council member, is the third of four children born to the church’s pastor James M. Bishop. He serves as assistant pastor.
Whitaker was on Portsmouth City Council until 2018, when he was convicted on three felony counts of forgery. He did not serve jail time, but a judge ordered him to pay $7,500 in fines.
Overall, much of the church’s debt is in two real estate properties. The rest of it mostly concerns utilities, cable and energy bills and insurance premiums.