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Local

Bank forecloses on Harvest Bible Chapel founder's Elgin-area estate

The secluded, gated home of former Harvest Bible Chapel pastor James MacDonald is off Highland Avenue, west of Elgin.
The secluded, gated home of former Harvest Bible Chapel pastor James MacDonald is off Highland Avenue, west of Elgin.

James MacDonald, the ousted founder of the Rolling Meadows-based Harvest Bible Chapel, has not made a mortgage payment on his sprawling Elgin-area estate since December 2019, a bank argues in a foreclosure lawsuit filed this week in Kane County.

Republic Bank of Chicago is seeking $947,546.34 from MacDonald, who was fired from the megachurch in February 2019, according to the lawsuit, which also names MacDonald's LLC, Vanilla Bean, as a defendant.

The property on the 14N300 block of Highland Avenue was purchased in January 2016 with a $990,000 loan, according to the lawsuit. MacDonald still owes $925,902.96 on the loan, $20,669.34 in unpaid interest, and $974.04 in late charges for the nearly $948,000 total sought in the suit.

Efforts to reach MacDonald, who was fired amid allegations of financial malfeasance and a combative management style, were unsuccessful on Thursday.

MacDonald has since launched an online ministry called the Home Church Network.

Edward Freud, an attorney representing Republic Bank, had no comment on the suit.

Both sides are due in Kane County court on Dec. 28. Republic Banks also is seeking attorney fees from MacDonald.

The foreclosure suit is the latest legal matter for MacDonald, who in late 2019 sued WLS radio host and former friend Mancow Muller.

MacDonald was fired Feb. 5, 2019, and Harvest officials made the decision public Feb. 12, 2019 -- the same day Muller aired a leaked and damning taped conversation of MacDonald on his radio show. In mid-December 2019, MacDonald broke his silence since his termination with an 18-count lawsuit alleging defamation, eavesdropping, privacy infringement (related to the leaked recording) and reckless oversight against Muller and Cumulus Media Inc., owner of WLS-AM.

Mancow is seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed, arguing it was his "duty" as a church member and journalist to expose MacDonald.

MacDonald's lawyer in the defamation suit, Phil Zisook, is seeking to have Mancow's attorney, Michael J. Young, dismissed from the case. No hearing date has been setn and the two sides are next due in court on July 28.

• Daily Herald staff writer Susan Sarkauskas contributed to this report.

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