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09.22.06 Latest News
Lesser Synod Confirms Failed Audits,

Missing Receipts & Support For Metropolitan

With the largest Diocese in the OCA entertaining multiple resolutions to stop paying its assessments, while Archbishop Dmitri of the South requests silence from his clergy concerning the scandal even as Bishop
Tikhon of the West retakes to the internet to further it, an expanded Lesser Synod met on Thursday, September 21st, in Syosset.

Comprised of Metropolitan Herman, Archbishop Job, Archbishop Nathaniel (replacing the ailing Archbishop Kyrill), Bishop Tikhon (Mollard) and Bishop Seraphim, Secretary to the Synod, this meeting traditionally plans the agenda for the full Synod of Bishops meeting later in the Autumn. This time the meeting included an additional guest: Bishop Nikon of New England and the Albanian Archdiocese.

According to informed sources, little, if anything was decided during the full day meeting of the six bishops. The Metropolitan continued to aver that little information may be shared with the Synod, the Council
or the Church while Proskauer Rose LLP “continues its investigation”. That investigation is now entering its sixth month.

Nevertheless, in the statement released by the OCA,

the bishops: “...fully support the actions of the Metropolitan with regard to the Church’s finances. This includes: the retaining of counsel and auditors, the internal investigation, the related audits and reviews,
the loan to the Church and the purposes contained in related documents, the adoption of the Best Practice Principles and Policies for Financial Accountability as submitted for review and endorsement to the
Metropolitan Council, as well as other changes required for implementation of standard accounting practices and procedures.“

No Body, No Crime?

Standard accounting practices and procedures are apparently sorely needed as the bishops went on to affirm that: “The review of the 2001-2005 Annual and Special Appeals is ongoing. However, from the
initial findings, it has been concluded that there is no receipted documentation or verification for a large portion of those funds. No further information can be made available until that review is complete.”
This review too is entering its sixth month.*

The bishops did offer some closure on one aspect of the scandal - the audits. The bishops stated: “Regarding the request by the bishops for 2004 and 2005 audits, an audit for the year 2004 was undertaken as well
as a preliminary review of the financial records for 2005. However, it has been concluded that, due to the lack of documentation, no audits for those years can be completed. Therefore, the bishops have determined not to spend any more of the Church’s resources on these
audits.”
No word was given as to whether any further information on the failed audits would be released, or if so, when.

A Dearth Of Information

In addition, the bishops discussed the following items related to the crisis in the Church:

• The status of The Honesdale Bank loan.

No information was released.

• The Administrative Reorganization Task Force report. No information was released.

• Fifteenth All-American Council options.

No information was released.

• The proposed OCA Statute revision project.

No information was released.

• The Best Practices Task Force report.

No information was released.

You can read the full text of the OCA’s press release regarding the  meeting and the statement of the Bishops here.

Fr. Kondratick Gets A New Assignment

In related news, informed sources report that Fr. Robert Kondratick, former Chancellor of the OCA who is at the center of the Proskauer Rose investigation, the reviews and the failed audits, has been accepted
into the Diocese of the South, where he will become rector of Holy Spirit Church in Venice, Florida. It has not been publicly announced whether his wife, Bette, will resign from her present position as administrative secretary of the OCA’s Pension Board and coordinator of the Benefits Office; or whether these offices will be moved from Syosset to Florida as well. (Despite reports on the internet in recent days, the Pension Fund is a department of the Church, not a separate entity.)
 
One could only hope that should the positions become available, a new Administrative Secretary and Coordinator would be chosen in an open process from qualified applicants, as standard business practices would suggest,  rather than the closed process which has resulted in the appointment of friends and relatives as in the past.

-Mark Stokoe

*Update: 9.22.06 at 6:30 PM EST

In a reply to a question asked by a reader yesterday in the Share Your Comments section of this website, Protodeacon Eric Wheeler has just made the following comments about the failed Audit and ongoing Review of the Charity and Special Appeal accounts, as well as the Proskauer Rose investigation. Protodeacon Wheeler's comments contain significant new details concerning each:

"If I knew where all the ADM money went, the OCA would probably not be spending six figures on an investigation.

Because banks generally do not maintain records beyond 7 years, Proskauer Rose has not been able to locate the so-called discretionary accounts. Father Kondratick would most likely be able to explain where the money was spent, but I understand that he walked out of an interview with PR, with his lawyer, before it could begin.

The invasion of the designated funds, through the petty cash distribution system, slowed down to a great extent during the Andreas Grant years, but seemed to have escalated once the grant dried up.

It is my understanding that the audit of the designated funds from 2001-2005 could not be completed because of the lack of records for some $700,000 - $900,000 distributed in cash from these funds -- this amount includes over $100,000 from the 9/11 fund."

 

 
     
 

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