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Paluch Condemns St. Tikhon’s Report Again

Martin Paluch has spoken publicly about the St. Tikhon’s Report at greater length. In an Op-Ed piece posted on the Wayne Independent website this afternoon ( www. Paluch, the driver, photographer and housemate of retired Metropolitan Herman assumes the role of the disgraced Metropolitan’s chief defender as well. Paluch, criticizing the Honesdale PA paper for its story on the St. Tikhon’s Investigative Report that ran yesterday, writes:

It was most disappointing to read your article concerning the St. Tikhon’s Investigation Report. Not only does it mention false allegations and accusations, but you failed to include the most important part of the “Report,” and that is the “Conclusion.”

At the time the false allegations and accusations were made in 2009 indicating possible wrongdoing by Metropolitan Herman and Archdeacon Alexei Klimitchev, they were denied by both individuals and declared untrue.
After a year of investigation, the “Conclusion” of the “Report”, which for some reason you failed to include in your article, reads as follows:

“A major area of concern at the outset was the suggestion of criminal activity. Our review did not find direct evidence of criminal activity. We were hindered by a system of shoddy record keeping that we identify within the report. The primary individuals involved, Metropolitan Herman and Archdeacon Klimitchev, offered plausibly sounding explanations for questionable or suspicious activities. In some instances, these explanations could neither be verified nor disproved. Therefore, we cannot make a conclusion regarding criminal activity.”

In fact, the St. Tikhon’s Report does make numerous “Observations”, each of which is referenced to documentary evidence, contained in the 26 page appendice to the Report, or to witness statements cited in the text itself. Paluch does not indicate which of the “observations” he considers “allegations” and “accusations”, nor which he witness statements he considers “false” or “untrue”.

Paluch’s Omissions

Paluch implies the Committees reticence regarding “criminal activity” buttresses his case. Yet, in quoting the above, Paluch totally ignores the two footnotes (#62 & #63) that are attached to the last two sentences of the passage.

In regards to “plausibly sounding explanations”, footnote #62 states: “At times, these explanations were not provided at the initial questioning, but only later after reflection.” According to one memorable instance in the Report, it was not Metropolitan Herman, nor Archdeacon Klimitchev - but Martin Paluch himself - who reported the “plausible sounding explanation” to the Committee. On page 33 the Report notes:

“During our face to face interview, Metropolitan Herman could not provide an explanation on why money was borrowed from the bank and charged as a bookstore expense and why construction loan money was wired to Archdeacon Klimitchev’s mother in Russia. Later that day, Martin Paluch contacted the committee via telephone to report that Metropolitan Herman believed the money perhaps was sent as payment to Klimitchev’s father for work that had been done at the monastery several years earlier.”

Footnote #63, which he omits as well, gives a clear indication of the Committee’s opinion as regards the topic of criminal activity. It reads:

It is possible that the information the committee has provided in this report can be used by agencies with broader investigative powers to confirm or deny suspicions of criminal activity.”

Rather than suggesting the there was no finding of criminality, as Paluch implies, the footnote suggests the Committee found just the opposite.

Paluch Reveals Correspondence

Paluch continues his complaint on the Independent website by quoting correspondence between the current and former Metropolitan’s of the OCA:

In his letter of March 16, 2010 to Metropolitan HERMAN, the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, His Beatitude Metropolitan JONAH wrote :

‘We herewith clarify that the St. Tikhon’s Investigation Committee was formed to investigate the entirety of the history of the St. Tikhon’s complex, and not you personally. The purpose was to uncover the causes that led to the confusion among the various corporate entities, and those actions which resulted in the present desperate financial situation.’

On March 17, 2010 Metropolitan HERMAN responded to the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America by letter wherein he wrote:

“I take exception and deny the false allegations and accusations in the Report as presented. In some instances it may possibly involve slander, libel, defamation of character and irreparable harm. I strongly urge that the report not be released to the public at this time allowing me to respond. Unfortunately, some items from the report are already being discussed throughout the Orthodox Church in America.”

In his correspondence, as in Paluch’s, Metropolitan Herman cites possible “slander, libel, defamation of character and irreparable harm.” Once again no specific examples or instances from the Report are given. It is not known if Metropolitan Herman made any attempt to respond to the Report during the week between his March 17th letter and the time the OCA eventually made the Report public, on March 24th.

The Paper Clarifies

Paluch’s complaint led the Wayne Independent to re-edit its summary of the St. Tikhon’s Investigative Report published yesterday. The Editor concluded Paluch’s letter with the following note:

“ Editor’s note: The story in Tuesday’s edition contained most of the concluding comments from the report but failed to include, “Our review did not find direct evidence of criminal activity.” The Wayne Independent apologizes for the omission. The on-line story is being updated with that line.”

Metropolitan Herman has made no public comment on the Report, nor on the Wayne Independent story.

- Mark Stokoe


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