Tuesday, August 22. 2006
Does anybody think Proskauer Rose should not be revealed? Or the Audits? The next Metropolitan Council meeting is September 11th. What does your Representative need to hear?
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All the recent posts to date, reveal malfeasance and perfidy in the central administration of our OCA.
Reading Protopresbyter Hopko's voluminous exposition (which totally befuddled me), in my opinion was totally off the mark. He surprised me and others with his assessment and solution.
Malfeasance, perfidy, clandestine accounts supplemented from income derived from well-intentionned givers, was simply omitted. It went on for years and years and was clear to many of those in our OCA.
What to do? If we do not act soon, and cause those in charge of our Holy Church to come to account, and be replaced, we will slowly but surely come undone and fragment one after another, to other jurisdictions.
Blessed Theotokos, save us!
#1 Name withheld by request on 2006-08-22 08:24
Speechless. I am speechless. I think its time for the authorities to step in and begin locking some folks up. It appears that this is certainly "Pre-Herman". So that authenticates my comments around Theodosius and his involvement in the scandal.
Fr. Bob is in no way innocent, but I think they are niave enough to think his firing will allow this to go away over time.
If the report from Proskauer Rose is not released to the general population, in its entireity, I think its time for the gloves to come off, to stop sending and money to Syossett and demanding the autorities get involved. Maybe a petition to the IRS local office in Haverstraw.
#2 Bob H. on 2006-08-22 10:13
What proof is there that the Proskauer Rose investigation is completed?
Are you and Mr. Zwick not jumping the gun in this assumption?
Please share with us how such an assumption can be made and posted in a public forum?
I don't ever recall seeing a statement from the law firm saying anything, let alone affirming Mr. Zwick's comment.
From what I've heard, the investigation is NOT over but rather continues.
If not true, this is irresponsible reporting.
#3 Michael Geeza on 2006-08-22 10:39
I make no assumptions, but have simply reported what Mr. Zwick stated, as he stated it.
As to the veracity of what he stated, I have no reason to doubt it.
Both Metropolitan Herman and Fr. Kucynda reported to the Metropolitan Council at their June meeting that the Proskauer Rose investigation would be completed by August 30th ĖĖ at the latest. Those comments, while confirmed to me personally by members of the Metropolitan Council present at the meeting, were not, however,included in the official minutes of that meeting.
So while I do not know Mr. Zwick's sources, it is entirely possible, in fact probable, that the report is indeed finished as he claims. Not to report his claims, knowing the above, would be irresponsible.
Perhaps you have knowledge from the Metropolitan or Fr. Kucynda that the investigation was not concluded by August 14th; nor will it be by the 30th of August as they themselves have said? If so, I encourage you to ask the latter to share that information with us all. After all, in their own words, we are the clients.
As for a statement from the law firm, Proskauer Rose LLP has made it very clear that they will have not offer comments, period. Their silence neither confirms nor denies anything.
With all best wishes,
#3.1 Editor on 2006-08-22 11:13
SINCE THE OCA IS PAYING THE BILL FROM PR. WE SHOULD KNOW ALL THAT THEY HAVE DISCOVERED.
IT'S TIME FOR THE PEOPLE FROM SYOSSET TO QUIT HIDING BEHIND A SMOKE-SCREEN.
I JUST LEFT A VIDEO-CONFERENCE ON A 1.2 BILLION DOLLAR PROJECT, FOUR LOCATIONS, AND TWENTY THREE PEOPLE WERE INVOLVED. WE ALL AGREED, WE KNOW WHAT WE HAVE TO DO, TO MAKE THIS PROJECT SUCCEED.
WE SHOULD ALSO CONSIDER SOMETHING ALONG THESE LINES TO SAVE MONEY IN THE FUTURE.
PUT ALL THE CARDS ON THE TABLE AND LET'S GET OVER THIS MESS.
SAINT JAMES- Broyher of the LORD
Kansas City, MO
Maybe I'm just feeling contrary today, but I'm opposed to publishing the entire contents of the Proskauer Rose findings. There are several hot heads posting on this site that would absolutely delight reveling in such a publication, but not every misdeed, not every errant detail needs to be revealed. If some think that they have some right to this level of detail, please explain how you came by this right.
What I DO have a right to, however, is to know that the leadership of the OCA is doing all it can to clean up an ugly mess. I think they begin restoring respect by telling us what they are doing to correct matters, not by detailing all the misdeeds.
I do not doubt for one second that money has been misspent, that dedicated funds were tapped and that a lack of proper controls allowed this to continue up to this year. I don't need or want to know the slimy details, but I sure need to be able to trust those in Syosett, and trust is seemingly a rare commodity these days throughout the OCA.
#5 Marty Brown on 2006-08-22 12:26
I believe we should all read Proskauer Rose for three reasons. First, we have a legal right because we paid for it. Secondly, we have a more important moral responsibility to read it because as stewards of the blessings we have been given, we are responsible for how we use our talents, and how are talents are used. Finally, we have a spiritual obligation to tell the truth, if we are truly to be followers of Our Lord, who is the Truth. That obligation is no less for the Church as an institution, as it is for each and every believer.
As to the level of detail, no one has suggested that all the misdeeds be detailed. Scrupulosity itself is a sin. Sadly, it seems that Syosset cannot even answer the simple question: "Are the allegations true of false?" let alone offer details. Proskauer Rose can answer that question. Moreover, it should answer the specific allegations made by Protodeacon Wheeler and others once and for all. In short, reasonable people should expect reasonable detail. No more, but surely no less.
The key, as you point out, is trust. To be restored, rebuilt, one cannot just "move one". Our Lord said " Repent": not just "Move On". Let us follow His teaching and our tradition and encourage those involved to repent and confess where necessary; and make restitution when possible as a sign thereof. Releasing Proskauer Rose in full, no matter what it says, would clearly demonstrate to the Church and to the world that we do not fear the Truth, but only the judgment of God. It would be a good first step in restoring trust throughout the OCA; and our reputation throughout the world.
With all best wishes,
#5.1 Editor on 2006-08-22 13:45
Thanks, Mark. I appreciate your point of view. You quoted our Lord and Savior as telling us to repent. I agree with your quote, but did you go far enough? Did Christ mean for us to stay wallowed in self-regret about our sins (or others'), or did he also tell us to go and sin no more? I can't easily repent for your sins, Mark and you can't feel deep regret for mine. So why should we read a report that I suspect will, indeed, cover ALL the aspects of what went wrong in Syosett. How will that help?
You point to our obligation to the truth, but if there is one subject debated philosophically more than Truth, Iím not sure what it is. Do we need to know the intimate details of our churchís failures on our path to being good Christians? I didnít agree with the thought when Olympiada first expressed it, but once I give my money to the church, I canít control it, I canít lay awake at night worrying if it will be misspent. If I find that it is, my ultimate recourse it to stop giving until course corrections are made. Does anyone out there really believe we're going to restored missing assets of our church? That somehow, if we just scream loud enough, money will come flowing into the treasury?
What I sense, especially lately, on this site is a mood of recrimination and vindictiveness. People TYPING IN FULL CAPS to note their righteous indignation. It's getting nasty here and I think people are forgetting that this is a filtered extension of our church, our faith, our belief system. Hey! I suspect all kinds of ugly stuff occurred, but for heaven's sake! I donít need to know all the ugly details to fix the future. Weíre talking about a church here, not a public prosecution, despite what some here might desire.
Yes, as members of the OCA, weíll pay for P.R.'s work. We also paid for trips to Russia, a couple of steak dinners here and there, and perhaps some upgrades in someone's residence. We get to share in none of these, either. Just because we paid for the report doesn't give us the right to read it.
#5.1.1 Marty Brown on 2006-08-22 16:23
MARTY, HOW CAN WE KNOW THEY ARE TELLING THE TRUTH, UNLESS THE COMPLETE UNALTERED REPORT IS PUBLISHED? FOR THOSE THAT WOULD REVEL IN SUCH A REPORT ARE BUT A FEW.
TO RELEASE A FEW BITS AT A TIME WOULD BE TOO TIME CONSUMING. THIS WOULD GET THIS NASTY MESS OVER SOONER. HAD THIS BEEN DONE TEN MONTHS AGO, THIS SITE WOULD HAVE SERVED IT'S PURPOSE AND THIS MESS, WOULD BE HISTORY.
SAINT JAMES-Brother of the Lord
Kansas City, Mo.
The issue with the charitable remainder trusts and other such instruments is pretty scary. I had forgotten that the OCA was soliciting people to place with them the large amounts of money necessary to generate income for life or a long time certain. The scandals just keep multiplying. (Perhaps, Mark, you should consider modifying your summary section to include in bullet points, with hyperlinks, what the exact allegations are, with their outcome.)
Steve makes an excellent point about how the details just keep oozing out, like a slow poison connected to an IV. The only way we'll lance this boil (though, perhaps with the breath and depth of the problems, a malignancy is the better analogy) is full disclosure. It will be painful and terribly embarrassing at first --- but it is only after that kind of process will the work of Protodeacon Peter and his team be meaningful as a guideline for future operations.
I see now that the OCA intends to open a diologue with Fr. Peter as the intermediary. Well and good. Given the adverse consequences that have befallen others who have sought a diologue, my question to them will be whether any rehabilitation will take place for the pioneers in this effort. I think this is a necessary prerequisite for such a diologue to be worthy of the name and effort. The other difficulty with the diologue is that it reminds me of Rumplestilskin; that seemingly information will come out only if the exact question (in exactly the correct formulation) is asked.
#5.2.1 Ed Unneland on 2006-08-23 05:24
Why coudn't these questions to the OCA (this official dialogue) be continued on ocanews, just as the Best Practices was done? The dialogue is of value to the whole church now and since it's set up as a one on one situation between Protodeacon Peter and the questioner, others will not be able to benefit from intelligent questions given intelligent answers. Perhaps those receiving answers could post them for all to see on a special site of ocanews? Any reason this could not be done?
#22.214.171.124 Anonymous on 2006-08-24 05:56
Michael, don't you think the Metropolitan owes us at least a heads up? Frankly, for the magnitude of the problem, he owes us at least a letter stating nothing to report, or some type of status at least every month. When promontory is in a pit, you need to look up and shout at those above you, and like it or not, that is the status. None of us appreciate it a bit.
As to the report of Zwick. This is not surprising in any way to me. The existence of discretionary accounts lends itself to uncertainty. Wise stewardship by the Synod would call for the repeal of these accounts, or at a minimum putting a cap on them. Gifts of over $10,000 are reportable anyway I believe, so why no cap is wild to me. I don't expect wise stewardship anytime soon because our Synod does not function well. Perhaps the Metropolitan will be told by the attorneys to change this, maybe he'll listen to them.
Another point that got a little chatter last time was whether the Synod should be made up of monastics. I believe it is fine that way and that little differences exist other than time available, but I believe that monastics aren't necessarily the best financial managers in the world for anything greater than subsistence and it seems like they need an advisor for a national administration that should thrive, not just survive. An advisor to the Synod would help them make informed decisions about whether budgets were reasonable, etc. All the priests and bishops we have administering the church hasn't helped it much. I guess it seems like they are all a bit unprepared, uninvolved. None of them have to like it and they can all blame the head, but they are equals, unless we inherit Papal Supremacy in the Metropolitan.
As to whether PR reports in full to the laity. I see some potential problems. Let's say part of the report suggests that if information were made known to the public, the charitable status of the OCA would be lost. If this is the case, even PR should report in some fashion. ie We are unable to report the specifics of 3 issues in order to protect the charitable status of the OCA. There may be other issues that merit the same.
However, I believe PR owes every member of the OCA something. Expect it to be lawyerspeak, tailored to protect in some fashion. All of us are so certain of wrongdoing, if they come back and say we spent more than we brought in, wow, how will everyone concerned react?
If we don't get the PR reports and 2006 budgets aren't reported and audits aren't reported, the administration won't survive, so I wouldn't worry too much about not getting some of this in due time. Question isn't when, but how much.
#6 Daniel E. Fall on 2006-08-22 16:59
Please recall that as a church, no reporting is required to the IRS. There are no gifts that are reportable.
You may be thinking that cash transactions over $10,000 are reportable, but that applies to financial institutions and only to currency transactions -- not checks, wires, or other transfer methods.
The current administration can produce all the budgets they want; it won't solve the problem we face, which is governance not accounting. Besides Syosset has no credibility -- any document produced would be (in my view) not worth the paper it's printed on. Auditors will not examine budgets, or current reporting. They will tell us the internal control system cannot be relied upon (duh).
People should be aware that an "audit", according to American Institute of CPA standards, will not detail any issues of malfeseance, adjustments to records, etc. Only an opinion letter that the financial statements represent fairly the financial position of the church, and a statement about the internal control structure. The specifics will be in a letter typically issued to the board of directors called a "management letter". In it, specific weaknesses in internal controls and financial statement irregularities should be addressed. It will not (in all likelihood) place blame.
We need to ensure the letter will be addressed and delivered to the Metropolitan Council (each member) and not the Metropolitan or the Holy Synod.
Sdn John Martin
Martin D. Watt, CPA (Inactive)
#6.1 Marty Watt on 2006-08-23 13:12
Are you suggesting that we should willingly be complicit in a lie to protect our own self-interests? Do you think the Federal government is too incompetent to pierce such a veil, particularly when it knows information is being withheld simply by monitoring this website? And what profit would we gain as a church if we protect our tax-exempt status at the expense of our soul? Should we not be trusting in God to protect the OCA, and not manipulation? And if He fails to protect us, should we not accept His discipline as our repentance?
#6.2 Nancy Shepherd on 2006-08-23 18:29
The question of monastics or not for the episcopate is nothing but noise. I am sure there are numerous married clergy who could not financially manage their way out of a paper bag.
The issue is, IMHO, that the OCA has been functioning as a collection of "autocephalous dioceses" within which are many "autocephalous parishes". The synod has never seemed to be interested in the national Church's affairs, as long as those affairs left the diocesean bishops free to run their own shows back home. Parishes were equally unconcerned with national or diocesean affairs, unless it cramped their style.
How could anyone expect the synod to keep, or demand that the MC keep an eye on finances when the synod couldn't (or wouldn't) put a lid on their raving lunatic brother, the "Patriarch of Cyberspace". Or sat still while the Diocese of NY/NJ failed to be able to meet its assessments, even though the money had been collected from the parishes.
The synod simply has never had any idea of their collective *responsibilities*, and by contagion, neither has the MC. They just all seem to be self impressed with their positions, and ignorant of their responsibilities.
At the parish level, our expectations of the synod and the MC have been almost less than nothing. As one fellow parishioner once put it, "As far as I'm concerned, we need no bishop - and Bp XXXXX is as close to that need as could be possible".
The synod is made up of diocesean bishops. Can we expect better leadership in their roles as synod members than we see in their diocesean lives? To wit, in one diocese::
The bishop went SEVEN years between visits to one of the largest parishes in his diocese
The bishop would be made aware of clergy who were hospitalized, yet never so much a make a phone call to them to offer his suppport.
The bishop was irritated by something a deacon did during the conduct of the Liturgy, and struck him sharply on the head with the Book of Gospels in front of the entire congregation.
The bishop shocked the clergy and selected male laity of a parish by proceeding to tell off color jokes during a visit.
The synod awarded the gold cross to priests at a meeting, and the diocesean bishop never bothered to tell some of them.
With bishops like this, is it any wonder the synod is disfunctional?
#6.3 Thomas F. on 2006-08-23 22:23
Just a thought here. Did it ever occur to anyone that maybe Metropolitan Herman and Fr. Kucynda are asking (maybe even begging) Proskauer Rose to allow them to say something in the form of a statemet, but that they (PR) are forbidding anything to be said so that nothing will hinder the investigation?
I think both the Metropolitan and Fr. Paul are smart enough to realize that the faithful are hurt, angry, untrustworthy, suspicious, have the right to know etc, etc,. and they probably want to say something more than any of us can immagine, but yet they can't. Don't you think they are troubled by this? Don't you think they have spent many sleepless nights asking why can't we say something?
Would any of us really want the investigation at this point to go down the tubes because "we" demand information before it can be released?
Doesn't anyone assume that something really, really serious must have been found if it is taking this long to come forth with some answers?
I don't think there is a smoke screen at all. I just don't think anything can be said yet and even though this lack of forthcoming information annoys me too, there is nothing we can do about it.
Perhaps some of our OCA attorney's can address the issue of speaking too soon while an investigation is ongoing?
#6.4 Michael Geeza on 2006-08-24 04:26
The questions of the PK "report" and the possible ways that might be utilized to speak broadly to parishioners within the Orthodox Church in America as to "To what extent are the allegations true?" were two of several matters raised and proposed in a "Reflection" by Father George Johnson, August 1, 2006. You might review that article in terms of some additional perspective on the matters that you raise.
Fr. George Johnson
#6.4.1 Father George Johnson on 2006-08-30 15:55
This particular article has raised yet another interesting and very thorny subject, charitable trusts. Not to go into a lot of detail but most charitable trusts are not small amounts of money. Did I read this correctly that there may now be money missing from various charitable trusts? I am truly baffled at the incredible stupidity, incompetence and arrogance in Syosset.
Lord, have mercy.
#7 Fr. Michael on 2006-08-22 17:04
The next Met Council meeting should be a pajama party! Reps should bring sleeping bags and be sequestered (with bread and water) until every question is answered, every audit and PR report fully presented, "packaged," and published, and appropriate action initiated in accordance with the existing statutes. (Molebens, canons, and akathists are optional.)
If the result is just more of the same, relevant goverrnment phone numbers (DA, AG, IRS, FBI) should be posted here and the feds summoned to expose and correct what we obviously cannot. (We'll get something from our tax dollars rather than nothing from our assessment dollars).
The games must stop!
#8 "Speed-dial ready" on 2006-08-22 20:33
As our spirtual fathers remind us before we confess our sins, we should reveal them all, lest we depart from the physician unhealed. When the PR report is completed, it must be released unedited, no matter how shocking or embarrasing the information may be. There is no other way to begin the healing process.
Once the complete truth is revealed, we can go on with our Christian duty of forgiveness. I'm dismayed by some of the "off with their heads" posts that I've read, but at the same time I understand the feeling of betrayal that we are all experiencing. The biggest disappointment, I think, is the fact that the truth has to come out through the efforts of high-priced lawyers, and not through the repentence of those involved.
As His Beatitude has said, the Church must prepare for dark times. Remember that Christ forgave the repentant thief, but didn't interfere with his just punishment under the law. It's quite likely that investigations are underway on a State and/or Federal level. I can tell you from my experience that "no news is good news" does not apply here. Very often, prosecutors silently take their time in building a case. Should such an investigation be present, and should it result in indictments, it will indeed usher in the darkest days in the history of the OCA.
#9 Anonymous on 2006-08-23 07:11
Regarding the quote you attributed to His Beatitiude, "The church must prepare for dark times." No, the Central Administration and those associated with it should prepare for dark times; we who are out in the parishes should be about the work of Christ in His Church whose prospects for mission and evangelization in America have never been brighter.
#9.1 Fr. Robert K. McMeekin on 2006-08-23 08:40
#9.1.1 Mark Warns on 2006-08-24 13:03
Father, do you believe that the work of evangelization will be uneffected by this scandal? If the Central Administration is held criminally liable, the resultiing media frenzy will make the entire OCA appear as dishonest and deceitful. It won't matter in the public eye that the vast majority of the OCA clergy are honest, sincere workers in the Lord's Vineyard. The scandal will leave the impression that they are Jim and Tammy Bakker with cassocks.
#9.1.2 Anonymous on 2006-08-24 15:59
The Church is the Church and its work continues in the local parish every day among the faithful. We may apologize for ourselves and our many failings, but we make no apologies for the Church which continues to be pure and holy and lacking nothing.
As for the central administration (which does not equal the Church) they have nothing on the gates of Hell which, at last glance, have not yet prevailed against the Church.
#126.96.36.199 Fr. Robert K. McMeekin on 2006-08-25 13:01
Archpriest Jimmy and his darling wife Tammy... Hmmmm. How quick we Orthodox have been to denigrate Evangelical and Pentecostal Christians for their supposed deficiencies. We've got some serious repenting to do. Perhaps our Evangelical and Pentecostal brothers and sisters will forgive us.
#188.8.131.52 Name withheld on 2006-08-25 19:46
Why does everyone seem to think that the Proskauer Rose report will be full of juicy details, pointing fingers, exposing scandal, answering questions once and for all? It won't be. As an attorney who has played the role of PR for other organizations, I can pretty much guarantee it will do none of the above. For three reasons. First, this administration does not share much information with anyone, including the Archbishop of Chicago. Second, every indication is that few records exist anyway. Third, even when lawyers find evidence of wrongdoing, they do not write incendiary reports and send them to the person who is paying them tens of thousands of dollars.
#10 Robert Vasilios Wachter, Esq. on 2006-08-23 09:15
My question concerns the documents that have, or have not, appeared in the course of this investigation by Proskauer Rose, and by the audit firm. Does either of the investigations have subpoena power, to get at documents that are not freely handed to them? My guess is they do not.
I am impressed by the quality of so many of the comments here. The OCA is truly blessed with many talents among its members. How to benefit from so much talent, that is the question. Again, thanks to Mark for his commitment and tireless work to make this venue possible. Cate
#10.1 Cate on 2006-08-24 07:59
We Christians don't seem to be very good at making the moral distinction between accountability and forgiveness. It baffles me the way we get so easily suckered into cheap forgiveness. Lets get a backbone and remember, the same Christ that forgave the harlot also cleared the Temple of the moneychangers. Going forward, we need to learn better how to forgive someone while nevertheless holding him accountable for his actions. We're not very good at making that distinction it would seem.
Fair, objective, enforced standards are the only way to do this with regard to accountability; otherwise, no one wants to hold another accountable under the doctrine of "There but for the grace of God go I." Praising Biblical standards is easy. Living up to them is hard. Let us set fresh standards worthy of our Higher Calling. Standards worthy of giving one's life for. That includes accountability along with forgiveness. Accountability is in this scandal demands full disclosure, as painful and embarassing as that will be. Forgiveness follows the catharsis. To use forgiveness as a blanket with which to cover the wrongdoing is wrongheaded.
#11 Name withheld on 2006-08-23 18:54
There was some talk about establishing a trust that would hold money in escrow for Orthodoxy in America, pending the time when trust can be re-established. (We should remember that it is not only the OCA that is problematic; remember the Voithia website, GOAL, and the reasons for OCL's existence.)
The OCA charitable trust questions raised by Peter Zwick would necessarily give people pause as far as turning over any sort of principal from which income can be derived for any kind of purpose that could benefit Orthodoxy; however, this can be a valuable vehicle for tax planning and such in the United States as we currently find it.
May I commend to people's attention (with the explicit injunction that they should consult with trusted tax/financial advisors) the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund and Fidelity's Private Foundation Services. Fidelity has established means for channeling people's charitable instincts into avenues that make sense both for the donor and the beneficiary, while providing well-audited professional management. The gift fund is at http://www.charitablegift.org. Fidelity's discussion of giving vehicles is at https://www.fidelityprivatefoundations.com/resources_planning_trusts.html.
Again, this is not an endorsement, and I am not compensated by Fidelity. I am just pointing towards information that may, or may not, be useful in a person's particular situation.
#12 Ed Unneland on 2006-08-24 08:03
I love the moneychangers reference....
So from that I offer the OCA Administration have changed your money into I.O.U.'s. Maybe its like the story of the emporors new clothes...maybe the Administration invested in new garments and we cannot see them!
Do they make black and white striped cassocks??
If you cannot admit your crime, you cannot be forgiven is what I will offer. No forgiving until you admit what you've done.
#13 Bob H. on 2006-08-24 09:14
Nancy, I never suggested we be "complicit in a lie". I am merely framing expectations as did R.V.Watcher. Expect little from PR. They won't be standing on top of Everest pointing fingers because that is the way attorneys operate.
Let me frame a different example. Suppose that someone claimed sex abuse and that is one of the problems that led to a pay off and lost money. If the attorneys shouted it from the mountaintop, do you have any idea what the future legal fees would be? That is not complicity Nancy for an organization with a 3M dollar budget (I guess).
#14 Daniel E. Fall on 2006-08-24 09:45
Seeing the complete lack of progress by the OCA leadership toward a resolution of these problems leads me to believe that there really isn't going to be a resolution. I think after a few "blessed reposings" a new generation of bishops will lead the OCA to better times. It's so often true in organizations (religous or secular) that problems are only solved when the sources of the problems just grow old and pass on.
If we think that audits, law enforcment, people admitting guilt, and convictions are going to be the solution, then we're dreaming.
Pray for a new synod and the new bishops that will come forward in future decades.
#15 Stu on 2006-08-24 11:21
Bequests tend to be few in number, and they come from a limited number of sources. So they can be tracked from either direction.
Have any parishes been contacted about the possibility of missing bequests? If missing bequests are a significant concern, that would be the obvious place to start.
#16 MarkWarns on 2006-08-24 13:13
A friend of mine told me last Sunday that she didn't get my point in this posting, so here's a clarification.
There are indications that a portion of the money bequeathed to the OCA by members who died prior to 2006 may have been mishandled and that the records of those bequests at the OCA may be missing. OCA management can still determine the extent of the potential loss by contacting the local parishes for a rough list of those members who died during a certain period - let's say the five years from 1/1/00 to 1/1/05 - and who were known to have bequeathed money to the OCA. Management could then compare the list of donating estates to the records at the OCA to determine the percentage of lost records. Its that number that would determine management's approach. If the percentage of lost records is high, more investigatory resources should be devoted than if the number is low.
So, have any parishes been contacted? Along the same line, have any executors or other personal representatives of donating estates contacted the OCA to see what happened to the bequests?
#16.1 Mark Warns on 2006-08-28 23:38
A few of the comments that I read say that the local parishes are doing ok; that only the central organization may have problems.
I disagree. There are two OCA parishes in the area that I live in. In my opinion, and in the opinion of many others, the two priests...canít be reached, and act like they own the church. ... There is much work remaining to be done at ďALLĒ levels if this mess is going to be cleaned up. The arrogant attitudes of some of the priests have to change.
- Thanks, Ande
#17 Ande on 2006-08-24 18:38
Excellent point, Ande! The cleaning of the current mess should be on "ALL" levels!
On that note, what are the guidelines for the OCA parishes regarding wills? In some cases, the priests (who act like they own the Church) are named Executors of the Will, and receive monetary compensation. There is no "open book" reporting such as estate accounting to the parish. The parish is the actual beneficiary to whom complete accounting is due.
Furthermore, the same clergy claims that bequest should be spent on the promotion of the particular ethnic group instead of promotion of Orthodoxy ( by establishing Mission in English language in Metropolitan City, or helping the poor and needy, or supporting seminarians,...). The bequests are used to cover deficits which are incurring as a result of parishioners...the generous ones leave and the new ethnic group does not match their support...
Yes, the attitude of some clergy and Bishops needs to change!
#17.1 Anonymous on 2006-08-30 08:02
Many, many thanks to Fr. John Reeves!
Wonderfully, truthfully said!
Your brother in Christ,
#18 Priest Christopher Wojcik on 2006-08-25 09:45
Attention Metropolitan Council--Judgement Day is Sept. 11th!
Now is the time to demand and get answers. If you are afraid to support those seeking answers then your only honorable option is to resign. Otherwise you become, defacto, a morally unindited co-conspirator in this travesty of truth and justice. The clerical members of the MC are not exempt from this charge.
#19 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2006-08-25 16:31
And if I were a MC member reading these posts, I think this one would be the last one I would ever read.
How do we further our cause, our mission for full accounting and reformed practices with this "Judgement Day" poke-in-the-eye?
KRT, didn't your momma ever tell you about trying to catch flies with vinegar?
#19.1 Marty Brown on 2006-08-30 13:00
#19.1.1 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2006-08-31 09:27
Nope--she taught to me to always speak the truth and not to suffer fools gladly!
Judgement Day, btw, does not reference the "Last Judgement," but rather implies its continued relevance to the faithful if the MC fails to fullfill its clear duty and responsibilities as so many have previously discussed on this site. Of course, individual members of the Council have already performed with distinction.
#19.1.2 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2006-08-31 09:43
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