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Rev. Rice Threatens Court Fight as New Life Hearings Continue

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Men's quarters, top floor of New Life Evangelistic Center. Photo: KMOX

Men’s quarters, top floor of New Life Evangelistic Center. Photo: KMOX

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - A homeless man says he was assaulted and robbed of his laptop computer after he spent a night at the New Life Evangelistic Center.

The allegation surfaced during the latest in a series of hearings to determine whether the downtown homeless shelter is a neighborhood nuisance and should have its hotel license revoked.

The shelter’s owner, Rev. Larry Rice, says if City Hall does try to shut down his shelter, he will take the case to court.

“We will be taking this to court where we can contest if we really need a permit for a hotel. We’re a church after all,” he said. “There’s different options that we have available but we hope that we can prevail at this particular hearing.”

The weekly hearings before the Board of Public Service are expected to continue into November. Rice says thus far the hearings have been fair and impartial but homeless residents have been unfairly blamed for the city’s issues.

“I think the homeless are being blamed for all the problems in the area, including the bar patrons at Washington Street and other locations, so I have concerns that the homeless are catching the blame for a lot of problems,” he added.

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