By Aaron Earls
Once home to “the baddest man on the planet,” an Ohio mansion will now fulfill a high calling.
Living Word Sanctuary Evangelical Church is remodeling a 25,000 square foot house and 60-acre estate that used to belong to boxing legend Mike Tyson.
In 1989, the boxer bought the home in Southington, Ohio—45 miles southeast of Cleveland—to be close to the training camp of his promoter Don King.
He sold it 10 years later, but not before making some heavyweight-sized adjustments.
Nicholas DeJacimo, pastor of Living Word, told the Tribune Chronicle, the church had to remove tiger cages to make room for a pavilion.
“He (Tyson) had four tigers here with a very high chain-link fence so they couldn’t get out.”
The former pool area will be converted into a sanctuary.
But the biggest transformation may take place upstairs in the bedroom area. Previously, it featured mirror-covered walls and ceilings, along with a Jacuzzi.
“We heard there were some crazy parties here,” the pastor said. “We will turn this into a room where women can get ready for a wedding.”
The building had several other owners, including an infomercial mogul who was sentenced to 13 years in federal prison for money laundering.
It sat vacant before being given to the church as a tax write-off three years ago.
While the church had to pay $50,000 to clear up back taxes, DeJacimo says getting the building is a miracle.
“I tell the congregation God literally gave us this,” he said.
Previously, Living Word met in a YMCA nearby, but co-pastor Mark Cohen hopes the congregation will move into their new building later this year.
“Our plan is to have everything opened up by December with a grand opening celebration in time for the holidays,” he said.
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.