News From Around the OCA
Documents from the First National Bank in Anchorage, revealed to OCANews.org, confirm Bishop Benjamin's assertion that the former Bishop of Sitka, Nikolai, left the diocese with more than $900,000 in outstanding mortgage debt. According to these records the Alaskan Diocese currently owes $212,135 and $112,605 on two mortgages taken out on St. Innocent's Cathedral properties; as well as $218,842 on the Sitka Cathedral property. While the former Bishop has acknowledged the Sitka mortgage in his recent letter from Australia (read that letter here) he cited the Anchorage debt at $140,000, not $324,000. Moreover, the former Bishop failed to mention that the Anchorage cathedral had been mortgage-free when he arrived in 2002.
The former Bishop also wrote: "And the residence at 740 Hunt was bought. When the property on Old Harbor was bought the property at Hunt was placed in escrow for $350,000.00. This loan would be paid once the purchaser's credit was at a higher rate." What the former Bishop failed to fully acknowledge was that the $363,341 mortgage on the property, the home of his former choir director, remains the legal responsibility and obligation of the diocese.
The total of these four mortgages, as Bishop Benjamin asserted, is indeed $906,925.
• Syosset, New York
The times and dates for two additional Town Halls have been announced, while others have been changed. The Bethlehem PA Town Hall will now be held in the morning, from 10 AM-Noon, rather than in the evening, of July 19th. The new Western Pennsylvania Town Hall will be held Carnegie, PA (near Pittsburgh) on July 31st, and a new New Jersey Town Hall will be held in South River, on August 2nd. A full schedule of the Town Halls, now 15 in number, may be found here.
Preliminary dates for the joint Synod and Metropolitan Council meeting at which the Special Investigative Committee report will be issued have been pushed back yet again. The report is now being scheduled for release at a joint meeting to be held in September, after the last Town Hall has met, and long after the deadline for resolutions to the All-American Council (August 15th) has passed.
- Mark Stokoe