Church protests appraiser's questions - 1987-08-14
The Rev. W.S. Craig, pastor of the Apostolic United Pentecostal Church in St. Petersburg, says he has gone for 31 years without having to justify his church's tax-exempt status to county officials. "And after 31 years," he said, "they want to know about our finances, our church structure. They're infringing on our rights as a religion." Pinellas Property Appraiser Ron Schultz counters that he's merely trying to enforce the tax laws. Craig blamed Schultz's attitude on his long-running battle with the Church of Scientology in Clearwater. Each year since 1982, the Scientologists have sought an exemption, and Schultz has denied it. "The Church of Scientology of California Inc. was the first instance in my term of office where I found an institution calling itself a church that the courts agreed was not a not-for-profit institution," Schultz said.