6.01.06 Latest News
Three Part Series Begins:
Bishop Tikhon On The Fund,
The Note and The Tape
(Editor's Note: Bishop Tikhon of the West has written OCANews making public a letter written in 1999 by former Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) chairman Dwayne Andreas to former Metropolitan Theodosius. The Bishop also offered new information regarding several aspects the OCA's financial scandal. In this first of a three part series OCANews examines the Bishop's claims regarding Metropolitan Theodosius' "Discretionary Fund". Part Two will focus on the Bishop's new disclosures regarding the Kondratick Promissory Note. Part Three will conclude the series with new information concerning the existence of videotape that may, or may not, clarify Fr. Kondratick's role in the scandal.)
On May 29th Bishop Tikhon sent OCANews a letter that he claims lays to rest allegations made by former OCA Treasurer Protodeacon Eric Wheeler regarding misuse of some $4-$5 million given the Church by the Archer Daniels Midland Foundation (ADM) and the Andreas Foundation between 1992-1999. To others, the document is simply more evidence that Wheeler's allegations of financial misconduct are true, and that an attempt to cover up this misconduct continues. +Tikhon sent the letter, and his attendant comments, in response to a posting made earlier this week on OCANews by CPA and forensic accountant Marty Watt.
To place the letter and the Bishop's remarks in context, we begin by repeating Wheeler's allegations regarding the ADM funds taken from Wheeler's 2005 letter to the Holy Synod (Read his letter here). Wheeler wrote:
"A written grant requesting funds to support the 'Strategic Plan for the (Russian) Orthodox Church in America regarding St. Catherine's Embassy Church Moscow, Russia" was submitted to Dwayne Andreas with an initial request of $1,500,000 - there was never any mention in the written grant of funding 'discretionary' needs. The grant was approved by Mr. Andreas and the first $250,000 arrived in June 1995. By September 1997, $1,000,000 was received 'on the books' of the Orthodox Church in America in support of the project and an unknown amount 'off-books'.
Contrary to any claims made by the Metropolitan and Father Kondratick after 1999 stating that the funds received from the Archer Daniels Midland Foundation and the Andreas Foundation were for the Metropolitan's discretionary account, the original intention, as stipulated in the grant and subsequent requests for funding, was to use the money for the restoration of St. Catherine's Embassy Church and attached facilities, and the creation of the Andreas Conference and Communications Center (to be located on the grounds of St. Catherine's Church). The response from Dwayne Andreas in 1999 stated that the funds were to be distributed at the personal discretion of the Metropolitan for projects requiring financial attention that the Metropolitan had made him aware of (there was never any mention of funding a discretionary account).
Reports were prepared by me for Father Kondratick's signature and submission to Dwayne Andreas, twice a year, for the years 1996-1997 describing the progress of the project, accounting for the funds received and requesting additional funding for ongoing expenses. The reports were quite detailed on paper, but in reality, a good part of the expenses were backed up by the same system of petty cash disbursements, and credit card statement vouchers mentioned above. Actual costs in Moscow for renovations, repairs and church appointments were either cheap, acquired through the barter system or provided through the regular income coming from the parishioners of St. Catherine's Church and rental use of property. The greatest fear was that Mr. Andreas would want to view the conference center and a plan was put into place to present the offices of the law firm renting property within St. Catherine's complex as the Andreas Conference Center - the only thing to be changed was the signs on the outside of the building."
On May 27th Bishop Tikhon wrote directly to OCANews. We reprint the Bishop's comment in full:
"Monsieur Watt and others are still purportedly anxious about the Archer Midland and Andreas Foundation millions. I (with the help of Dragon Naturally Speaking) have copied the text of the letter from Mr. Andreas which should alleviate all such anxiety. I, like the other members of the Holy Synod, was given a copy of this document for the first time when it was delivered to His Beatitude, and that is why it was written: to be shown to any and all who had anxiety about his discretionary fund..a fund NOT created by the Church for His Beatitude, but a fund created for His Beatitude to use without reference to any bureaucracy or any entity whatsoever, including the Church.
That is why, when the Protodeacon (the first one to act in this campaign) revived last year the same allegations resolved and publicized as being resolved at the All-American Council in 1999, the Holy Synod refused to consider the closed matter. I can't explain, of course, why this document and my input to the recent Holy Synod minutes and the Promissory Note seem all to have gone back 'into nothingness' since the strategic discharge of the former, disgraced Chancellor. Not only this document, but receipts and the initials of the Primate which were made on every request for transfer of funds from specified funds to the general operating account and operations of The OCA from 1999 until the Chancellor was hastily fired and before the auditors had a crack at the files, as the former comptrollers and Treasurers, all of them, required before releasing such funds, and, as well, that promissory note, and so forth. All these documents seem to have been 'disappeared', just like Argentine or Chilean dissidents, as soon as Father Bob left the office and the locks were changed. No one did anything but yawn, as well, when I and others pointed out that the whole computer system was subject to outside interference, hacking etc., with no good internet security established. I do believe, though, that the original UNIX system, set up by the Protodeacon at one time, as well as the system that replaced it, could have been accessed even by those without his skills.
Now, here's the text of that letter. Please read it carefully, and then let us know if you still consider millions to be 'missing' from OCA FUNDS.
ARCHER DANIELS MIDLAND CO.
June 28, 1999
Orthodox Church in America
P.O. Box 675
Syosset, NY 11791
Thank you very much for your telephone call of June 24, 1999, regarding the need for back-up documentation for certain donations made to you from the Archer Daniels Midland foundation and the Andreas Foundation Of course we will provide the documentation you have requested.
Please accept my apologies for 'reading between the lines' of your request; but from our conversation it seems that the intention of these donations is in question or is being misunderstood. If this is the case we are puzzled since we thought the intent was clearly stated at the time of our initial donation some years ago. Therefore in conjunction with the preparation of the documentation you have requested, we would like to take a moment of your time to clarify the stipulations and intention of the donations given to Your Beatitude once again.
From the very outset it was and is the intention of the ATM foundation and the Andreas foundation that specific funds donated to Your Beatitude were to be dispensed and disbursed at your sole personal discretion. We of the foundations believe that Your Beatitude should have specified funds at your disposal to assist those persons or entities as you see fit Your Beatitude has made it increasingly clear to us over the years that there are projects which are near and dear to your heart needing spiritual and financial attention. We perfectly understand that these special projects cannot be accomplished with or through your general organizational funds. For this precise reason we have donated specified funds to Your Beatitude in order that you can personally and without restriction accomplish these projects at home and abroad. We are also keenly aware of the fact that you are personally sensitive to the plight of so very many people who suffer at the hand of others or from circumstances that have made the dignity of the human condition unbearable without the assistance of someone who cares. We at ADM know that Your Beatitude is also deeply concerned for his Holiness Patriarch Alexey II in the many needs of the Mother Church in Russia. You should be able to help whomever you wish without the encumbrances of any bureaucracy.
Without being entirely altruistic and even though we are not all that well versed in the workings of church administrations, we are knowledgeable of business and we are searching there will be expenses involved in the exercise of your good works. We understand that portions of these donated funds are needed to defray the cost of various and sundry expenses. The ADM Foundation and the Andreas foundation do not require Your Beatitude to keep an accounting of the use of the proceeds of these donations for two reasons: primarily to eliminate any limitations to your personal discretion; and secondly, to maintain confidentiality and secure anonymity for those persons or entities you deem worthy of your gracious assistance.. We are delighted to be of help to you and to help others through you.
We believe it has always been understood that the transfer of any specific funds to your care that the ATM foundation and the Andreas foundation relinquished all rights to the donated funds and passed such rights on to Your Beatitude personally for use at the sole personal discretion of Your Beatitude. We are dismayed that it has become necessary to re-state the intention of our donations; but to dispel any misconception or misunderstanding which may exist within your organization we feel it to be necessary.
We will proceed with the compilation of the documentation you have requested-which we request state stay solely in the possession of Your Beatitude
With kindest personal regards we are...
Yours with the great respect,
Dwayne O. Andreas
More Questions Raised
Contrary to +Tikhon's stated intentions, the Bishops' comments and disclosure of the letter do little to clarify the situation, but rather raise more questions than they answer. Specifically:
1. The Bishop claims that he, "like the other members of the Holy Synod, was given a copy of this document for the first time when it was delivered to His Beatitude, (ed: Metropolitan Theodosius) and that is why it was written: to be shown to any and all who had anxiety about his discretionary fund". According to others present at that July 1999 meeting, the bishops were not given a copy; the letter was only read to them, and they were not allowed to read or obtain copies of the letter.
If the letter, as the Bishop claims, was meant "to be shown" why was this the case? Indeed, as the ADM crisis grew in the Autumn of 1999 through the Spring of 2000, the existence of the letter was not mentioned by Metropolitan Theodosius in at least two Metropolitan Council meetings at which the ADM funds were discussed. If the letter, as the Bishop claims, was meant "to be shown" why was this the case? Why has it taken until 2006 for it to be revealed at all?
2. The Bishop claims "the ADM monies were a fund created for His Beatitude to use without reference to any bureaucracy or any entity whatsoever, including the Church." But this claim directly contradicts two of the ADM Foundation's published guidelines: that no monies are given to private individuals, and that all grants must be in writing. Indeed, if the money was truly given, in direct contradiction of the Foundation's policies, to the Metropolitan personally without benefit of a written proposal, why did the OCA go through the elaborate and costly charade of creating a grant proposal in the name of the OCA in 1994? (Read the original grant here) Why would the OCA continue to repeat those requests on a yearly basis though 1999? Take, for example, the following letter sent by Fr. Kondratick to Mr. Andreas' Private Secretary, Cladia Madding, in January 1998:
January 2, 1998
Mrs. Cladia Madding
Archer Daniels Midland
4666 Paries Parkway
Decatur, IL 62526
PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL!
Greeting and best wishes to you and your family, as well as all of the members of the Andreas Family. May God continue to bless your life with an abundance of good health, prosperity and God's protection at all times, as we enter 1998.
With regard to our conversation of last Tuesday, December 30, 1997, I will need for you to measure your table tops for the exact measurements in order to have the tablecloths that we talked about made. Don't forget to allow adequate measure for the amount of hangover -- the look that you want to create in both sizes. Also, please speak with the Andreas housekeeper and be certain that she does the same.
As Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, the following must be addressed in 1998.
First and Highest Priority:
The St. Catherine and Andreas Center in Moscow, Russia with it's outreach to the orphaned childrens center and soup kitchens -- support and maintenance, Adoption Office, Christmas Stocking Program, clergy and clergy family care, and continued restoration, computerization and refurbishing of the buildings, as the government allows; and of course, assistance to the Patriachal Office.
This year we need, should you and Mr. Andreas bless:
January, 1998 - $250,000
September, 1998 - $250,000
The project in Moscow is in dire need of funding and is of utmost priority.
Last year, you surprised and blessed us in June with an additional gift. This was immediately used to support, maintain and expand the projects which are already in place.
In September, when we had our brother to sister talk, we spoke of a WISH LIST. You asked me to send it to you under private cover for you to consider for funding from the ADM and/or Andreas Foundations. I feel somewhat embarrassed because of all that you have helped us with in the past, however, there is a WISH LIST. If you are still serious about this, please let me know.
With much love and sincerest thanks for the gifts that God has endowed you with in helping the Andreas Family, you own family and all those extended family members for whom you care.
Wishing you God's choicest blessings in 1998.
Fr. Bob (signed)
This annual request clearly states the monies will be used for "the project in Moscow", that is, St. Catherine's (not to mention the non-existent "Andreas Center"). There is no mention here of a "discretionary account"! It is clearly a request from Fr. Kondratick "as Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America"; not a private request from Metropolitan Theodosius. It is clearly a request for funds for specific purposes consistent with the original grant request; not for unspecified "discretionary" purposes.
If these monies were intended to be private, why would the OCA bother to file clearly false and misleading reports to ADM on a twice a year basis, claiming that the monies were indeed all spent on St. Catherine's? Why the unnecessary and continuing pretence if it was not needed? Moreover, if the monies were given to Metropolitan Theodosius personally, why does the original 1994 grant say that the monies would be administered by Fr. Kondratick? And if they were truly "discretionary", why would the grant emphasize that they would audited by a Big Six firm on a yearly basis?
3. The Bishop claims the Andreas letter resolves the issue of the funds. But does it? Did Mr. Andreas have authority to speak for both foundation - neither of which lists him as the giving officer? How does a personal response have any bearing on the distribution of funds given by both foundations by a man who did not oversee funds from either one? In brief, there are many and serious questions as to the very relevance of a letter from a "Chairman Emeritus", even if it is written on corporate stationary.
4. The date, origin and contents of the Andreas letter itself raise even more questions. The letter on its face is an "ex post facto" document, written only after millions had been received and spent. And it admits being written at the direct request of Metropolitan Theodosius in order to explain the heretofore undisclosed grant. Mr. Andreas writes: "Please accept my apologies for 'reading between the lines' of your request; but from our conversation it seems that the intention of these donations is in question or is being misunderstood." The question is raised: given the date and origin of the letter, if everything was legitimate, what 'needs to be read between the lines' in the request except an ex post facto need to do some explaining for missing millions?
With the Bishop's disclosure of the Andreas letter, and his comments, the entire OCA is now confronted with competing accounts. That ADM millions flowed into a) OCA accounts or b) Metropolitan Theodosius'own accounts is now finally acknowledged by all; but that was not always the case. Protodeacon Wheeler asserts a grant was written for the Church in 1994, before the millions were given, a document which OCA News has published. Bishop Tikhon has now produced a document written after the fact, in 1999, suggesting no grant, no reports, no accountability was needed. Bishop Tikhon says that this letter was meant to be seen by everyone; yet many of those most closely involved in the controversy did not even know about it until Bishop Tikhon first mentioned it on the internet in 2005. Bishop Tikhon says the Bishops were given copies of it in 1999. Others present at the meeting tell a different story, that copies were not distributed.
One thing is clear, however: Bishop Tikhon's making the Andreas letter public at this juncture does little to clarify the situation. To those who are defenders of the old regime, such as Bishop Tikhon, the letter offers exoneration; to that regime's critics, the Andreas letter, like the Madding letter, are simple more evidence in a cover-up that is only now being exposed. To those who are still undecided, the Andreas letter is at best, a source of even more troubling questions.
Tikhon Himself Now Cries Cover-up
Indeed, the charge of "cover-up" is raised by the Bishop in his final comments to OCANews. Only for +Tikhon, it is the current administration in Syosset which is not only covering up the truth about Fr. Kondratick and his administration, but actively distorting it. Tikhon writes: "I can't explain, of course, why this document and my input to the recent Holy Synod minutes and the Promissory Note seem all to have gone back 'into nothingness' since the strategic discharge of the former, disgraced Chancellor."
+Tikhon goes on to claim that: "Not only this document, but receipts and the initials of the Primate which were made on every request for transfer of funds from specified funds to the general operating account and operations of The OCA from 1999 until the Chancellor was hastily fired and before the auditors had a crack at the files, as the former comptrollers and Treasurers, all of them, required before releasing such funds, and, as well, that promissory note, and so forth. All these documents seem to have been 'disappeared', just like Argentine or Chilean dissidents, as soon as Father Bob left the office and the locks were changed."
The Bishop is referring to information, first revealed by the Bishop himself, that the auditors were unable to complete their work because all the receipts were 'missing' (Read story here). The 2004 Audit has been completed, but the report, given to the Synod last week, has not been made public. Given the Metropolitan's pledge in his Archpastoral letter of April 9 to reveal the documents in question "at the appropriate time" and "in good order" it is expected that the Audit will be given to the Metropolitan Council at its June 13th meeting, and made public shortly thereafter.
+Tikhon concludes by hinting that any computer records that may be missing may be the result of hacking, and intimates that Protodeacon Wheeler himself may be behind it. The Bishop has made this sly suggestion before; a suggestion which Protodeacon Wheeler denies.
This is not the first time that Bishop Tikhon has written directly to OCANews; nor was it the last. That same evening he posted the above (May 29th) he sent a second provocative comment to OCANews regarding the controversy over the Promissory Note signed by the Metropolitan Council's Administrative Committee. In Part Two we will examine those statements of the Bishop.