Tuesday, July 17, 2012

There's Money in Jesus at Northampton County Jail

Rock Church of Easton
The Bible warns us, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves." I've seen that first hand with Gracedale's Fake Rev, Mario Martinez. The more often someone invokes the name of Jesus, the less like Him they turn out to be. But this story is about another false prophet. Unfortunately, this one is the chaplain at Northampton County Jail.

I'm referring to Chris Santos, appointed to the job in late 2010. Even the way he is paid should raise a few eyebrows. Instead of being paid directly, $1,000 per month goes to his church, the Rock Church of Easton. This way, he gets paid tax free and the County is spared those pesky little benefits.

Praise the Lord!

But that's only the tip of the iceberg. Santos is using his gig as prison padre to make some real dough. You see, he (and his church) own a string of run-down row homes on both Northampton and N. 6th Streets. He fills those buildings with tenants from among the prison's population. About 20 tenants, all supplied by the jail, pay Santos between $300 and $400 per month rent for an unlocked room in a dilapidated building. Inmates he attracts as tenants must worship at his, and only his, church. Every frickin' day. Three times on Sunday.

Praise Jesus!

Despite this steady stream of revenue from the jail, Santos is still behind on the bills. Church Redevelopment Corp., which owns 8 of these buildings on N. 6th Street, owes a whopping $51,461.50 in back taxes, going back to 2009. There's also $10,269.20 in municipal liens filed against Church Redevelopment and Rock Church itself.

My God, my God. Why have you forsaken me?

501, 505 Northampton Street
Whatever God is doing, Easton officials appears to be ready to forsake Santos. Last Summer, they called Rock Church on the carpet over their dilapidated buildings at 501 and 505 Northampton Street, across the street from State Theatre.  They still look like hell, even though the good Reverend is using his jail tenants as a labor source on those structures. They're unpaid, too. They'll get their reward in heaven.

Rock Church has never fared well with Easton officialdom. In 1993, a proposed pregnancy crisis center was rejected. And in 1994, a "Christian Academy" was closed down for multiple code violations, including the use of a classroom as a means of egress.

Oh Ye of little faith!

However poorly it fares with Easton, it's doing just fine with inmates at Northampton County jail.  So David, a Vet and a three-time DUI offender, thought it might work for him. "I pretty much would have signed a deal with the Devil to get out of [jail] and get my life back together," he told me. After all, Chris Santos always had a "kind word and a good ear." But after being released on bench parole to Santos, David soon learned that Santos is "all business across the street."

For $300 a month, unemployed David was installed in an unlocked room in a hovel on Northampton Street. Trash is strewn all through the place. Common bathrooms are filthy. Calling the place "horrible," David tells me that even the health department would be afraid to step inside.

Most cities have rules about the number of unrelated people who can live together in what is essentially a boarding house, even when God is in charge.

Officials at the probation office tell me they will confirm that an address provided by an inmate actually exists, and that the owner is agreeable. But they do not spend much time determining whether the facility is habitable, considering themselves lucky to have a place when housing resources are very limited.

"It's tough out there," the probation office told me.

As bad as the physical conditions may be, David is even more upset at the indoctrination. "Until you suffer for Jesus, you got nothing to offer us," he is repeatedly told. After that, they hug him and say "We love you, man."

There's a bible study twice every day, morning and evening. On Sundays, it's three times. If you work, you get to tithe 10% of your income to Rock Church. This is in addition to your $300-400 monthly rent. "Every time you sit down in a church-related situation, you're getting your wallet out," complains David.

Calling the place an "emotional jail," David tells me he felt trapped. He's allowed to attend one AA meeting per week, even though alkies like me know that you need to go every day in the beginning. He's also been denied permission to attend services at another church. 

The hammer is a parole violation. Santos threatens his tenants by telling them he'll talk to their parole officers, who will "violate" them. "He can take the carpet out from under your feet any time he wants," warns David.

What does Chris Santos have to say about these allegations? I contacted him early last week. He asked me to wait six months before publishing anything, assuring me that his accusers would have a change of heart.  Later that night, his entire Bible Study was devoted to me and to discovering who had blown the whistle. He threatened that if the City begins looking at his operations, they could all end up on the street.

After a few nights of this brow beating, one worried inmate fessed up, and dimed out David. Fortunately, David has received permission from his probation officer to move into Bethlehem's Victory House and away from Santos.

Santos tells me he has a B.S. in Theology, having attended Christ for the Nations, located in Dallas, and Valley Forge Christian College, located in Phoenixville. Christ for the Nations is unaccredited, and at the time Santos went there, had no degree program. Valley Forge is accredited, and does offer a Bachelor's degree in Theological Studies.

Asked about his program, Santos told me there are a lot of religious organizations who help people "get on their feet with spiritually significant support." He acknowledged that he does require his tenants to attend his church, unless there's an understanding with another Pastor.

"There must be accountability," he tells me, denying that "it is a cultish issue." But inmate David, who wanted to attend another church, was flatly told No. He was never given the option of contacting their Pastor.

Are housing conditions that bad? "We don't have roaches. We don't have mice," brags Santos, who insists you can buy a lock for your door. This was disputed by David. I asked Santos to let me look at the properties myself, but he never answered me.

$300 to $400 a month for a room? According to Santos, those rentals "keep the bills paid," although he has no explanation for the unpaid taxes and municipal liens. He tells me, "We train those men to stand on their own two feet," adding that he helps them look for jobs.

This was flatly denied by David. "You're on your own," he tells me.

Santos tells me he has a Blue Book, called a Benevolence Book, to provide food, clothing and rental payments for inmates who are unable to pay. David, who is unemployed, told me he never heard of it. He added that state food assistance programs are available for those with limited or no income.

Last week, David was pulled out of a bible study to talk to Santos. "If the City of Easton comes down on the Rock Church, it will be you guys who suffer," warned the preacher.

I think he's already suffering, "Reverend," and it's gone on long enough.

According to another minister familiar with Northampton County's program, "The County needs to establish sound criteria for this position such as legitimate ordination, Master's degree, and clinical training. But that would cost them about $70,000/year. Many counties, like Monroe, have set up a coalition of churches that raise funds to support a jail chaplain."

He warns against hiring a low bidder through an agency like Good News Ministries or Yokefellow. "These are basically untrained fundamentalists who purge other opinions and theologies from the volunteer corps."

Personally, I think the jail should hire a rabbi. The most Christian people I know tend to be Jews.

114 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like another insider deal from the Stoffa boys. amazi9ng that this nonsense is allowed. Time for a fr4esh broom.

Anonymous said...

That is baloney. In dioceses around the county, if the local Catholic diocese have enough priests, they will assign one to prison ministry free of charge. But unfortunately, there are not enough priests to cover the parishes that they have now. And the prison system is not very welcoming of Catholics. That is probably why Catholic dioceses leave prison ministries to lay organizations.

Not all Christians act like Christians, some tend to be universal.

Anonymous said...

About how old is Chris Santos?

Anonymous said...

At least this lad is making some $$$$ Atiyeh should hook up with him

Bernie O'Hare said...

Santos is 43 or 44 years old.

Rabid Red Rover said...

Easton Undressed spent years covering the blights of the church. One of the biggest and most vocal critics was former Mayoral candidate Mike Krill.(who was "Bad Apple" at Undressed).

Nice to see another blog has joined the battle to expose that mess.

Anonymous said...

Does he owe county real estate taxers? If so, why is the county still doing business with him? I thought there was an ordiance prohibiting that.

Bernie O'Hare said...

He does not personally owe the taxes. The corporation does.

Bernie O'Hare said...

1:11, I miss Easton Undressed.

Anonymous said...

Bernie:

I will stay anonymous about this one, but your coverage is fantastic. I believe Chris Santos' brother is a lawyer, giving him protective cover.

He is a scoundrel. And hopefully you will keep this on the front burner of your blog.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
This is type of blogging that has brought all the readers to your sight. Good job! It gets tiring to read all the personal attacks on this, and other blogs, but this piece is an example of why these blogs are so important in today's time.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"This is type of blogging that has brought all the readers to your sight. Good job!"

Thank you. I appreciate the kind words. Quite a bit of work went into this story. I wish I could be more succinct. Most people don't like to read more than 2 paragraphs.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I believe Chris Santos' brother is a lawyer, giving him protective cover."

He is. His name is Kevin Santos and he has offices in Easton and Allentown. I believe he does a lot of immigration work. Kevin has defended the Rock Church over its shabby buildings, but he himself is the subject of a recent federal tax lien for $27,612.15. (2012-FT-5676).

Anonymous said...

This is f-----g creepy.
Northampton County Adult Probation Department is enabling this.
The President Judge should stop this now.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Actually, it is not. I spoke with them, and they can only think of one or two people who are with Santos. I think this is primarily the DUI probation. I have not spoken to them. I do think that this situation needs a very careful review and some changes. I do not think we help people when we release them to live in a hovel.

Anonymous said...

Jaaaaysus, Bernie! This is the hubcap store with more effective legal representation. The government is usually an easy mark with screwy programs like these. I'm glad it's taking on health care. It should go well. Nice work here.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see blogs cover this, while the newspapers are writing about the Legion Championship Series.

Anonymous said...

The new editor of the express is dedicated to hard hitting reporting on the toughest, most important issues.

Bernie, what's your favorite hot dog joint?

Anonymous said...

1,000 dollars per month translates to 250.00 per week, that translates to 6.25 per hour. Is that legal when the minimum wage is 7.25? I guess it could be legal if we consider that it is a donation to his church. I guess that means that he is actually working for free. And you criticize this man. Shame on you Bernie!

Anonymous said...

These holy fuckin roller types are evil wicked people, devil like, the worst human beings hiding behind the collar...

Anonymous said...

Santos should contact the Allentown Rescue Mission for pointers on how to bring in some real money. Seems ARM perfected the eternal treadmill.Perhaps THE ROCK could get some gov contracts like ARM did from the City of Allentown.Oh,wait does Easton's mayor sit on The Rock's board of directors like King Ed sits on the Allentown Rescue Missions board?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"And you criticize this man. Shame on you Bernie!"

Let's see. $300 per month in rent x 20 tenants x 12 months is $72,000 per year. A 10% tithe on a $451 weekly salary, the norm for someone in those circumstances, x 20 tenants x 52 weeks, is $46,800. Not counting the collection plate and everything else, Rev. Santos gross income appears to be $12,000 plus $72,000 plus $46,800, or $130,800.

Now go take your drug cocktail.

Uncle Remus said...

Good GOD,

Don't let the jews take over. next thing you know they'll want us to start paying AGAIN for something that might have happened 70 years ago.

Dave Houser said...

Chris Santos needs to step down as NCP chaplain right now! What is the administration waiting for? I confirm everything Bernie has written. The people in his care are in danger on many levels. The county needs to find safe, alternative placement for the men living in his buildings. I'm on the record Bernie. I know I said I would not comment but now I must under the circumstances.

Anonymous said...

How can you be a chaplain if you are a "minister" of an "independent" church? These "churches" don't answer to anyone, except the televangelist money-theives they spawn.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Dave Houser is a regular volunteer at the prison, in addition to being a member of Bangor Boro Council.

Dave said...

I have forwarded this story to my boss at the Pa. Prison Society for their information and advice in regard to these issues. I am an offical visitor of that state legislated inmate advocate organization. I have also forwarded the story to all of the present Northampton County prison advisory board members in case they are unaware of these issues.

Anonymous said...

I am absolutely amazed at the inaccuracies in this piece. Be careful what you read !!! For an experienced blogger to take the word of 1 disgruntled ex-offender and use it to malign a man with a distinguished record of helping people in Pastor Chris Santos is unbelievable. Have you examined this man's (Dave) history. Go talk to the Prison Administrators !! How could a man with such a chequered history command so much attention from this blog ? Have you spoken to any of the 100 or so other men who have gone through this program ? Did Dave also tell you why he was removed from his first address and why he could not go back to his original address ? I am very familar with the workings of this program and the things you described in your blog are so far removed from what is actually happening with these men. Oh by the way, every one of these houses/apartments were inspected by the city of Easton in 2011/2012. The Rock Church has been helping homeless men in Easton for over 30 yrs long before Pastor Santos became Chaplain... and notwithstanding this awful blog ...will continue to offer housing to those who are in need.

Anonymous said...

I believe Dave Houser is making a play for the Volunteer Coordinator's job at the prison and is the one feeding incorrect information to this blog. I would discount anything he says. There is a motive here.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I was waiting for the inevitable attack and claim to be helping people and attempt to bash David and cast aspersions on him. Your Christianity shines through.

I discovered more - much more - today. As recently as Sunday night, one of your residents overdosed and was rushed to the hospital after being supplied with alcohol and who knows what else by other participants in your program.

On top of everything else, this is a built-in conflict. You can't be prison chaplain while simultaneously cherry-picking tenants to help you pay your bills.

I know all about the Rock Church, and soon, so will everyone else.

Bernie O'Hare said...

There certainly is a motive. It's called a profit motive, and you have it.

Houser, incidentally, is retired and has an ailment that would prevent him from taking that position. If anyone wants that position, it is you, so that you can expand your domain. Maybe you can have $2,000 per month sent to your church.

Anonymous said...

Bernie...Dave Houser....why dont you go talk to the men in the program ? Youll get it from the horse's mouth. Why are you guys afraid to do some real journalism ? There seems to be a hidden agenda here !!! Talk to the men in the program !!!!

Dave said...

Where do you think the info is coming from? Bernie does his homework and the sources are inside the gated walls. You chose the wrong horse..

Anonymous said...

so its about Rock Church....I thought we were talking about the mens community house....and Dave's issues...

Bernie O'Hare said...

You mean, why don't I speak to the people you brainwashed? Tell you what? Why don't I go to the hospital and speak to the fellow who just relapsed under your care? After being supplied by your tenants. Jesus must have told them to supply him. Why did you not let me inspect the properties?

Bernie O'Hare said...

We're talking about it all, dude. The empire. And you'll soon be talking about it with other people.

Dave said...

A lttle late for fact finding..isn't it? Never too late though to repent and..do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

hey Bernie ....for your information....people resort to their former habits very regularly at recovery houses...stay tuned to the real world because there will be more.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Oh I am tuned in to the real world and I take responsibility for what I write. You launch personal attacks ... anonymously ... against a recovering alcoholic and a prison volunteer to deflect attention away from your own misdeeds. By the way, didn't Jesus tell you to be honest?

Anonymous said...

Transparency. That is what is needed. A little bit of sunshine. I hope Rock Church gets some, because all you need is one of these guys to call S.N.A.P. or another survivor group network or get an attorney represented by a survivor group on them. And it is bye-bye to Rock Church.

Anonymous said...

another point of correction ... the Chaplain never choses who enters the program. It is done entirely by another individual.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Sure. And I'm just as certain that the Chaplain makes no effort to drum up business, in the name of Jesus, of course.

Anonymous said...

Funari

Anonymous said...

no effort whatsoever !!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Pardon me while I try very hard to keep from laughing. Reverend, I know much more than you think I know.

Anonymous said...

The Rock Church Men's House facilities are geared toward aiding men coming out of prison and re-entering society. It is Christian based and instills many of the characteristics of the CEC Program offered at the Northampton County Prison, intended to reduce recidivism. As a former graduate of the CEC Program and a former member of the Rock Church Men's House (16 months), I have turned my life around in a positive direction thanks to both of the a fore mentioned programs and am continuing to do well. I've lived in three of the homes on 6th street. Two of them are extremely nice and not even remotely close to being "dilapidated." Nor is the other home I lived in. Paying $300 a month allowed me to save money and re-establish some good credit as well as paying off defaulted student college loans and child support arrears. I've gained spiritual strength and knowledge, which I apply to my life on a daily basis thanks to my stay at the Rock Church. I know Chris Santos pretty well, though he is not perfect, I have never met anybody who is. He has a big heart. He truly cares about the well-being of all the men that come through there. He always is there to listen to our problems, guide us in whatever way he can, and personally go out of his way to help others in any way you can think of. He runs a tight ship at times but more times than not it's beneficial for us former inmates whether we realize it at the time or not. I know "David" and he has twisted some of the facts in this ordeal during his brief stay at the Men's House. And I have a pretty good idea of why he has a vendetta against Chris Santos but I will not expose this embarrassing information out of respect for "David." Shame on you "David." It sounds like you have already sold your soul to the devil. And shame on all who believe these half- truths about the Men's House without knowing all the facts. I still attend some of the Bible study's on my own free will as I am not bound to the contract we sign upon entry. Which, by the way states up front how strict and intense the Men's program is. I have 3 daughter's that have benefited from my stay there as well as my immediate family (All who live out of state) knowing that I was in a safe environment and building back bridges I burnt long ago. So is Chris Santos really such a bad guy? The answer is NO! I am proud to stand behind this man. How about focusing on the positive things in life or that Chris Santos has done instead of trying to bring down a man of God. You are playing with fire my friends. That's not a threat from me or anyone. That's karma.

Bernie O'Hare said...

How about telling me whether Chris Santos asked you to post this comment? I am sure that the brainwashed will be marched forward.

Anonymous said...

Bernie....you are the most cynical blogger on this planet...you yearn for controversy...I guess its good for your blog. You would rather print untruths than deal with the truth as told by those who are part of that program. "brainwashed ?" gimme a break !!!

Brainwashed said...

I also cant argue with the success I had at this program. I was there for 8 months and I was able to rebuild my life and get back with my wife and my family who had left me. Chaplain Santos is not the problem. He is a true man of God who is committed to the men there.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Brainwashed, an 8 month residency is itself an indication that the program takes advantage of people.

Anonymous said...

Dave Hauser-
Doing damage control?!!! excuse me while I throw up in my mouth. Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Such interesting comments and opinions from a man that's occupation is a "title searcher" oh- and one of his favorite movies is "Napoleon Dynamite". I will be sure to value your opinions. Why dont you check into the background of "Dave" ?? hmmmm? but - I guess you probobly know already....

Bernie O'Hare said...

Ad hominem attacks are the last refuge of those with no argument, but thank you for demonstrating your Christianity.

Anonymous said...

you keep resorting to Christianity and Jesus yet you say we have no argument.... .You are trying to destroy a man's reputation with all these untruths. Since you mention Jesus so often and quoted the bible in your blog you must be a frequent church goer. The attacks you launch at Chris Santos arent ad hominem attacks ?

Bernie O'Hare said...

No. He holds his program out as a faith-based program. His entire treatment appears to be based on religion. It is entirely appropriate, and warranted, to point our that he does not practice what he preaches, which calls the effectiveness of his program into question. As for destroying his reputation, he is doing that to himself, and the more he tries to defend himself, the deeper he gets.

Santos responds to these very legitimate concerns by attacking me, a prison volunteer and an inmate. I expected that bc like he is a false prophet.

The County cannot afford to make mistakes with people like him, and should sever all ties to him and his supposed program.

Coworker said...

Hmmm..with all this money Chris Santos is supposedly making he must be living in a mansion and driving a Beamer or Benz ? not that beat-up old truck that he occasionally drives to work in. He must be running a scam...right Bernie ??

Bernie O'Hare said...

As a co-worker at a facility known to be very cozy and to be a world unto itself, I would expect you to defend an obvious conflict of interest, even in the sight of pretty compelling evidence that he is hurting those he is supposed to be helping.

Anonymous said...

"does not practice what he preaches" ....based on information from an disgruntled ex-offender and a man (Dave Hauser) with questionable motives and a hidden agenda ? P.S. This is not an attack

Anonymous said...

Bernie...youre WRONG AGAIN !!!! When are you going to get it right !!!!! He is HELPING men not hurting them !!! Talk to the men.....thats REAL JOURNALISM... get the facts for real !!! David and Dave dont know the facts !!!

Coworker said...

you dont want to talk about the money he makes anymore ???? get the real truth !!!

Anonymous said...

This program is highly successful. You people are shaking the wrong tree.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I could see the success, as demonstrated by 2 people in the program supplying drugs and booze to a third person who had just been admitted.

As for the money being made by Santos, that's hard to establish when you're dealing with a church.

Finally, as for "real journalism," Pastor Santos' idea of real journalism is to tell me not to write anything abut this for 6 months.

Anonymous said...

Bernie-
How much do YOU know about addiction? just curious.

Anonymous said...

some people resort to their former selves at recovery houses... AGAIN.. you should know this. you will never have a 100% success rate. how about focusing on some of the positive results. I forgot...that wont serve your purpose You have your agenda !!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

As a recovering addict who wnbet thru a residentail rehab, I am quite familiar with addiction. I am also know that a relapse while someone is in early recovery is quite common, but it should never occur inside the facility where he is being treated. That is mismanagement and evidence that Santos does not know what he is doing, as I would expect from someone whose background is at best a theology degree.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately Mr O'Hare... Pastor Santos doesnt claim to be a journalist. YOU DO !!!

Anonymous said...

There you go again .....knowing nada about addiction !!! i feel sorry for you !!! youre in way way over your head sir.

Anonymous said...

Be content to stay in your ignorance about addiction. I think it serves you well. Youre not qualified to write about it nor are you qualified to judge which programs are doing well.

resident said...

This program is helping many men make the transition from prison but not all the residents are from prison. You just must have the willingness to change your life through a relationship with Jesus Christ and follow the contract you sign and be admitted. There have been many men who are living very productive lives after having gone through this program. This program will far outlive its detractors

Anonymous said...

Success almost always breed envy

C'mon now! said...

Signing a contract? These are addicts. Do you think a piece of paper is going to get in the way of stopping them to use?

You have to have a safehouse for them.

To bring drugs/alcohol into this facility proves the point that this is not a good facility.

How often do they get drug tested? And I don't mean by their parole and probation officers. How often does Pastor Santos drug test them?

Anonymous said...

I am Anonymous 12:20 July 18

Why would Pastor Chris Santos have put me up to writing my blog? That doesn't make any sense to me. You obviously don't know him personally and what he is truly about. I feel it's my duty as a man to defend someone who has guided, supported, and loved me through my own personal struggles with addiction and the stresses of life . Wouldn't you do the same thing Mr. Bernie? I am sure you have have skeletons in your closet. Am I wrong?
One of the first few times I met with him while on a furlough in work release months before I had a home plan with anyone, he welcomed me into his home. He fed me pizza and let me play on his son's drum set. It was awesome! He barely knew me at this point. As far as being brain-washed. I guess I've been brain-washed into putting others before myself and trying to be the best father I can be for my daughters. And living a fairly healthy and stable lifestyle. There is a lot of good things in the Bible about this sort of stuff. Maybe you should quote the Bible with beneficial quotes. Not to slander someone's who's good deeds that you are obviously unaware of.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, You really are barking up the wrong tree. I'm an outsider- meaning I was never a member of Pastor Chris' houses, but I am close friends with several of the men who were. Pastor Chris is attempting, and in a lot of cases succeeding, to bring these men back into society as functioning, productive members.
Addicts need structure in their lives- many of the men coming out of prison know no other life than that of the criminal. Some have never had a legitimate job in their lives. Of course there will be failures! It's the nature of recovery. All it really takes is real desire to stay clean.
These men you seem to be talking to would probably like staying there a whole lot better if they could do as they please. Then things would really get out of control. Trying to bring someone to God by insisting they attend church doesn't make Pastor Chris a false prophet, (an horrendous insult, by the way) it makes him a man who is trying to instill something in these men's lives that they had never had before. Brain washing? Give me a break! Dilapidated housing? Please! I've been in these houses. You make it sound like these men are getting shaken down because they have to pay 300 dollars a month rent. I wish my rent was so cheap. I could go on, but I'll end with this... I know "Dave" and you should not accept everything he says as truth.

Christina Georgiou said...

The concept that this building has passed required city code inspections is completely bogus. I can't speak to whether or not it actually was inspected (though I tend to think not, as the city is currently pursuing a warrant for inspection purposes), but I know for a fact that it is in violation of the city's landlord licensing program.

The last time I witnessed a possible emergency at 505 Northampton St., I watched EFD hesitate before entering the building. Fire, it seems, is something they thankfully can deal with. The possibility of imminent collapse, and rightfully so, had them apparently a little more worried. (I assume this by the fact that they donned their helmets, but not other gear, along with their gesturing at the huge crack in the side of the building, and a visible team conference on the sidewalk, before entering. And, BTW, the EFD did enter the building, and they get even more of my admiration for their bravery. Fighting fires, and it's attendent dangers, though also with much educated knowledge and caution of the risks involved, it seems, has NOTHING on the concept of the unknowns involved with unassayed structural deficiencies. Seriously, brave folks. You couldn't PAY me, or most residents on this block, to enter that structure.)

Some months ago, I had an interesting conversation with a former resident of 505 Northampton St. The gentleman, who was well-spoken and educated, though by most people's standards perhaps a little "touched" had recently been released from NCP and been picked up by Chris Santos, he said. (Not sure what his offense was exactly, but it seemed like it might have been public drunkeness or disorderly conduct or both. Like I said, the guy seemed a gentle soul, but not quite on the same wavelength as most of us.)

This guy told me the reason he moved out was because a piece of a windowsill fell on his head one night while he was sleeping. Indoors.

He also informed me the reason no one lives on the fourth floor is because it is uninhabitable--the roof leaks that badly.

Between the fact that he feared for his physical safety, as well as took issue with the religious indoctrination he was obligated to undergo as part of the deal, he left, saying he would rather face homelessness and the possible parole violation than stay any longer. BTW, the guy had some serious religious convictions, which he also conveyed to me. He added that he was fine with attending bible study and church services, but that he felt he couldn't keep them or pray on his own (his words) under the "Chris Santos program," and this was a problem.

At the time I met him, earlier this spring, he was living at the Bartlett, which he said wasn't great, but was "The Ritz" compared to the conditions at 505 Northampton St. (If you know the Bartlett, that says something!)

Question Chris Santos' motives? I'll leave that to others who may have had actual contact with him, though I can't say I've ever heard anything that actually sounds good.

Question what's going on across the street (or lack thereof, like basic structural maintenance, for what is decades now), that is undoubtedly endangering the residents? YES! That building is a serious hazard that could and probably will kill people, if something isn't done in time.

Oh, and the one answer I got one day talking to a "volunteer" who was directing illegal, incompetent, after-hours work going on there, "Don't worry about it, God will take care of us"?

Yah, sure, but only if you're misguided enough to believe you're going to heaven after you let a once-beautiful, completely neglected-for-all-the-decades-you've-owned-it (except for collecting the rent) and structurally deficient (and now sadly probably beyond repair), 130-year-old apartment building kill your tenants when it collapses one day. I suppose it's one way to get them closer to God, but I suspect it's not exactly the way He was hoping for.

Dave said...

Thank you for joining the discussion Christina. You are a very good writer..better than Bernie! I appreciate your candor and attention to detail on the issue at hand.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'd have to agree with Dave. I really appreciate your personal perspective, Christina.

Little Willy Won't Go Home said...

Anon 12:20 and 6:49 Pm,

I believe that Pastor Christ Santos didn't put you up to write on here. Everyone, especially former addicts from NCP released into Pastor Santos' home know all about Bernie and Lehigh Valley Ramblings. I remember seeing you post on here before. You always post on here about all sorts of issues. By the way, by court order, you aren't supposed to be posting on here; even anonymously.

Anonymous said...

Christina,

I am serious! I love you!

Please go out with me!!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Dude, If you want Christina to go out with you, you have to tell her who you are first. She's funny that way.

Christina Georgiou said...

To Dave and Bernie...Thanks for the compliments. I appreciate them, though I'm not sure I deserve that much credit. In this case, I merely live across the street. My reason for getting more involved than I normally would with something that qualifies as "news" is that I very much do not want to cover the event of a fatal building collapse in Easton, especially not one across the street from my home.

To the anonymous person that wants to date me: Your attentions are very sweet, and they've made me smile. Bernie does have something on the ball though, when he mentioned I have this funny thing of knowing who a potential romantic suitor is before agreeing to a date. If you'd like to say hi in a less public forum than Bernie's comments pages, pop over to eastoneccentric.blogspot.com and click on any link that says "email us."

Anonymous said...

Good luck as you go down the road of recovery David."May the road rise to meet you, May the winds be always at you back,May the sun shine warm upon your face,and the rains fall soft upon your fields
Until we meet again-
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Anonymous said...

Is that all you got to offer? What about do unto others...? Action is called for..not homilies. Kind words fill no empty bellies or help the homeless find safe shelter. Dig a little deeper.

Anonymous said...

If you did a drug sweep of these housing units right now..there would be mutiple arrests for everything under the sun. Enough already..bring in a police dog and clean the place out.

Unknown said...

I say this with the UTMOST seriousness.....5th,6th & 7th street and Northampton is where many addicts buy their drugs. 2 blocks from the courthouse, the jail & our seat of Justice, this rampant drug miasma exists! The only thing you will prove by finding contraband in the Rock Church Men's House is that we as addicts are up to our old shenanigans thinking we could get away with doing what we shouldn't be. 200 feet away from Pastor Chris's front door on 6th & Northampton street you can rent a prostitute and ANY other illict substance/service you can afford! :) That's not Pastor Chris's fault.........Your(Easton's) elected officials have to wear the blame that one.

Unknown said...

Christina....do you know the history of the 505 Northampton St building ? There was another structure attached to it... in fact... the wall of that bldg is still attached to 505. Where you were seeing the crack is the end of that structure and the beginning of 505. The city engineers inspected 505 several weeks ago and the chief inspector when asked said "there was nothing structurally wrong with the bldg". They have not yet completed the official report of that inspection. In addition, the code office did a complete inspection of that bldg in 2011 and all violations were satisfied !!!

Christina Georgiou said...

Woodsey George: I find that very hard to believe, as last I'd heard, not so many weeks ago, the city was pursuing a warrant for inspection purposes through the courts.

However, you've piqued my interest enough that I will have to pay a visit to City Hall next week to check the veracity of your statements. When that happens, I'll certainly be reporting on the matter.

Anonymous said...

wow! sounds like a soap opera with out the detergent,but seriously,I have know Chris Santos for a number of years and worked with him on some of the great work he has done in our community,this man has been there for me in the pass and in a personal way and know he has a good heart towards humanity and found him to be a person of integrity.I also have meet some of the man out of prison who are under his care and seem to be doing well.As far as Christina Georgiou comment on the safety of the buildings located at 501 and 505 Northampton st,I believe she should check with city before posting comment-sounds like she dose not know anything about internal structure of a building or how it is supported,my passed experience in new home construction from foundation to attic tells me so,but i agree if one looks at the outside,it dose not look good.Wondering if there is a man manly enough or a woman womanly enough to help this man who has been struggling for years to complete the buildings or his outreach to men in trouble,to help whether by donating time in labor or a little money. THANK YOU Mr. O'Hare for allowing me to make comment. Mr.T.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Mr. T, Mayor panto himself has commented on the disrepair of Santos' buildings. If he allows his fellow man to stay in buildings that are unsafe, I pretty much question all his other work.

Christina Georgiou said...

A real "man of God" wouldn't put his ego before the actual lives and safety of others.

Maybe if the Rock Church needed or needs help in its mission, they should join with all the other religious and charitable organizations in Easton that quite admirably cooperate and pool their resources and effectively help the less fortunate.

And if they can't do that, perhaps selling off a building or two and using the funds to repair the others would be a good idea. The Hooper house would be a great place to start, as you can't possibly make me or anyone else believe it's being used for charitable purposes, just sitting there vacant in its current state (for at least a decade or more). And yes, those of us in the neighborhood have noticed, the church is working on it--after hours, at the rate of about a stone a month, and badly at that. One of Easton's landmark historic buildings definitely deserves better, and so do the people of Easton.

As for my checking with the city about the status of things, that process began today with my filing a right-to-know request. Normally I'm told (and is my experience), that would have been fulfilled the same day, but since the entire matter is being litigated, the RTK needs to go through the city solicitors, who I am awaiting a call back from. In other words, in addition to Mayor Panto's confirmation of the problems with 505 Northampton St., the city's planning department is also confirming there's a very big issue there. Again, they try to work with people before moving to legal action. But apparently in this case, it's just not working.

Anonymous said...

Work with others..other churches? Fat chance of that happening. When you are a control freak..that is the last thing on earth you want to do..cooperate with others? Ha! There is only one God and his spokesman on this planet is Chris Santos..and don't you forget it!

Anonymous said...

I am shocked at all this garbage. To Mr. Houser, I thought you had more integrity, self respect and character. Shame on you. I have lost all respect for you. I sincerely believe there is a hidden agenda with you. As far as for this "tenant" David who was at Mr. Santos house, I would urge all of you, including Mr. O'Hare to do a background investigation on this slime ball. You would be surprised what you will find. I am shocked that you would consider believing anything this guy saids. I challenge everyone to look at his past. I have to laugh to see how this piece of defecation has started all this. I

Dave said...

Nice try..the facts win every time. Sticks and stones..friend. If you won't sign your name to the statement..you are a coward.

Sherry said...

:)

Sherry said...

Okay, so I put my name out there? Now what? It doesn't change the fact that Mr. Houser has lost my respect, and it hasnt changed the fact that David's past is as shady as God Knows what.

Dave said...

Sherry who? You want to smear..come clean yourself. Attack me and Dave and Bernie all you want. Doesn't change a darn thing. The truth is a powerful weapon and the pen is mighty. Bernie would not float a lie. I stand by the story.

Sherry Pfau knows said...

I am not disputing the fact over the issue of taxes and unsafe buildings. What I am disputing is the character of Mr. Santos. Do you realize how much damage has been done? I don't know which Dave you are. But yes, the truth is a powerful weapon, if its Dave the resident, if anybody knows, you should know the truth is a mighty weapon. Don't forget where you were a year ago. Now that is the truth

Anonymous said...

The nightmare appears to be over. Word is Santos is no longer free to roam the jail in search of serfs for his kingdom on the hill in Easton. Last seen crying his eyes out in front of his captives in church. What will the county do now? I would hope they take some responsibility here and step up to make things right again. If anyone has to be evicted and they were sent to Santos with county approval..they should be entitled to some kind of help finding another suitable housing situation. Good job Bernie..an injustice has been corrected or so it seems.

Anonymous said...

I too have lost all respect for Dave Hauser in the way he has perpetuated these lies against the character and integrity of this man who has helped and continues to help the homeless in Easton. Shame on you Dave..... Maybe you ought to be reported to your organization for you incompetence. The Volunteer Coordinator's job at the prison beckons !!!

Anonymous said...

Don't want either job. Not interested and I have stated that clearly several times now here on the blog. Why do you continue to say something that is not true? Chris did this to himself. You want to blame me..go right ahead. God forbid anyone takes responsibility for their actions. It's always somebody else's fault they're in trouble. I thought God is in control of everything that happens and everything happens for a reason. No?

Anonymous said...

I hear he is back at the jail and money is back in his pocket...this guy is a good talker!

Anonymous said...

As a current member I can attest that it is like a cult and the living here is disgusting.He loves his free labor and threatens to throw you out if you dont do the work.Recently their were bed bugs in the house.God forbid if you miss any of his bible studies. And the rent is 125.00 a week. I hate it here.

Anonymous said...

Also if you smoke he charges you an extra hundred even if you are not on the property. Money hungry a-hole

Andrew said...

HeyBernie, I hope I see you in the streets for having one source for your biase. I am a criminal and I defend this program for they have done more for me than anyone. Bloggers are such lame excuses for journalists who would never make it. Thanks for the laugh! -Andrew @44n 6th

Anonymous said...

That jackass so called pastor Chris does more illegal things over there than you can imagine. Spend a week there or better yet a day, your head will spin

Anonymous said...

Exactly, the entire tribe are nothing but crooks. The old lady Arlene is the brains of the mob. Don't forget Jesus talks to her (lol) and told her she can have a red Corvette. Dig deep men, you don't want to cross what Jesus tells her. WAKE UP, those crooks are going to burn in hell rite with Tammy Faye Baker they're idol!

Anonymous said...

Obviously you have been brainwashed. Wake up before its too late. The only thing they believe in is the all mighty dollar. If you believe that Jesus talks to the brains of the mob (Arlene), then you belong in Greystone with her. They are EVIL people which are only out for themselves. Chris is nothing but a big bully and should be ashamed of the way he threatens everyone. Its an absolute disgrace what's going on in that hell hole. God is good and I truly believe that he will send the entire tribe to hell with Tammy Faye Baker.

Anonymous said...

Its a shame that you have been brainwashed by those evil people.

Anonymous said...

What's going on over there is a disgrace. Chris and his tribe of lying crooks will someday burn in hell

Anonymous said...

Obviously you must be in on this scam. That is one awful CULT, and for anyone that backs them up has had to have been brainwashed by those sick twisted evil rotten thieves. All they do for anyone is belittle them and try to make them believe that they have to give every penny to them so they can get up on the pulpit and brag about their much needed vacations. They always have money for themselves. I would love to hear the IRS paid them s visit. All rents etc are all given in cold hard cash. I can only imagine how they're screwing the government out of a bundle

Anonymous said...

Chris prays on the simple minded. He makes the men feel that he is superior, and if you go against him he will make your life hell. Praise Jesus.

Anonymous said...

He doesn't believe in God. Its only Jesus

Andrew said...

Right, brainwashed? I live there for six months I had no where to turn upon my release. Now, I am a dangerous goods process specialist, live with my daughter and fioncè, am sober and happy. None of this possible without the church. Would have had a needle in my arm if it wasn't for the self control, discipline, awesome friendships and descretion I learned. Way to condemn people, foolish one.

Andrew said...

Right, brainwashed? I live there for six months I had no where to turn upon my release. Now, I am a dangerous goods process specialist, live with my daughter and fioncè, am sober and happy. None of this possible without the church. Would have had a needle in my arm if it wasn't for the self control, discipline, awesome friendships and descretion I learned. Way to condemn people, foolish one. (Men's community 12/5/15- 6/27/2015)

Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm just seeing this article for the first time! I've spent a few years with the church & family, my brothers & I also attended the school.... What a mistake. This family is like an occult. The stories I have & the horrible things they did to us is just so wrong. I hate that my parents ever got involved with these ppl. My grandparents were sucked in as well.