Friday, October 30. 2009
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to Mr. Samra...
While working as treasurer, were you aware of any HUD compliance audits done by third parties for St. George's Towers?
Have you contacted the OIG?
If the church refinanced a mortgage and it didn't need to by your standards, this would be fraud and reportable to the OIG.
That is, if public monies were used and subsequently threatened by misuse of funds, it would constitute fraud.
Given these sort of assumptive/obvious notions, one would assume you would have reported these problems. If that is the case, was the extent of the HUD review only the payment of 1k/1500k per month was disallowed? Or is there more to come from the OIG?
If the Metropolitan continues to support Fr. Antypas, is he putting himself at risk of collusion?
#1 Daniel E. Fall on 2009-10-30 18:00
The gates of hell will not prevail against His Church, but they seem to prevail against a certain parish.
May the Lord arise and scatter His enemies.
#2 anonymous on 2009-10-30 19:44
it appears to me that this site has become nothing but a tabloid site for gossip and rumor. it makes me sick. you publish things without checking if they are accurate. david thomas hasnt even been in church in almost 2 months. how he could possible see george samra sitting in the choir and not moving into pews during church is amazing. mark, just because someone sends you an email telling you this or that doesnt make it true. you should go and do some fact checking yourself unless you like to be the National Enquirer for orthodox churches. you, george samra, david thomas, and the likes are like parasites of the earth.
(Editor's note: You are correct, just because someone sends an email doesn't make it so - you should see the scamming emails I get. But when someone claims the whole choir saw them, they set a standard easily disproved. No one has as of yet. Finally, E-mails full of invective, such as yours, just weaken your case, as does the failure to conduct an external audit in the face of clear evidence of check fraud. Calling people names will not change that reality. A real audit will. )
#3 Loyal Parishioner of St. George of Troy on 2009-10-30 21:05
.... our church over the last 4 months has suffered terribly because of their actions and lies and it has got to stop. i give fr. joseph and the parish council all the credit in the world for remaining strong during these troubling times.....
#4 Suma L on 2009-10-31 10:47
"I began to sense faintly that secrecy is the keystone of all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy... censorship. When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, 'This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,' the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives."
~Heinlein "Revolt in 2100"
#5 Heracleides on 2009-10-31 19:18
leave it to george and david to create problems and controversy under the disguise of transparancy. while i admire mark's advocacy for truth, he is being fooled and the influence of his site is being abused by two fools that are making stories just because they dont like our priest. it is so disheartening and sad.
(Editor's note: I suggest you await my posting on Wednesday concerning a letter to your parish council from your parish President before making any judgements.)
#6 Anonymous on 2009-10-31 20:45
how many sequels to this story do you plan on giving us? is this update still part of troy story 3 or are we in part 4 or 5 now? it has gotten so silly the way you bite at anything just to have a story.
i wonder what story those two fools will put out for you tomorrow? Since we are hours away from church tomorrow, I wonder just what act they will do to disturb our time of prayer.
(Editor's note: As many as the story requires to be told. And alas, this site does not lack for stories concerning transparency and accountability. St. George is just one of the more paradigmatic.)
#7 Anonymous on 2009-10-31 23:09
How interesting that you update the other cooments on the other headings and not this one. Are there too many in support of father Antypas that you didn't want to show them? We know what's up
#8 Anonymous on 2009-11-01 19:03
If our Diocesan Bishops are truly Diocesans with all the authority they should have, then Bishop MARK should order an audit, external independent audit, of the parish in Troy, and MP should stay out of it. This is Bishop MARK's Diocese, and he should handle it. The fact that this has gone on for 4 months or so now, and nothing is being handled, and the financial issues continue, the only thing that will resolve this situation is an audit.
AND THAT GOES DOUBLE FOR THE ENTIRE ARCHDIOCESE - we are wasting so much time, and the appropriate audit of everything will answer the questions and put the suspicions to rest.... Let's move swiftly and in wisdom to bring the light out, the truth out, and begin to heal this suffering that we are all experiencing. There is no room in our faith for dishonesty and deception. It must stop NOW.
Question - church matters should be private. Bishop letters to priests should be private. Private conversations and meetings like the Board of Trustees Meeting should be private. It is clearly a shame that there are people that do not understand private conversations and the proper definition of the word "Private" or "Confidential".
Whoever is on the board or whoever attended the meetings should seriously not even be there due to their immature, lack of respect for their office in which they hold. Spying and leaking private meetings, what is this...third grade? For real.
You need to really check yourselves before you pray before the icon of Christ on Sunday or any day. This is truly a shame that there are "spies" or "weasels" in our own board. Not even talking about the two that everyone dislikes either.
I'm talking about the ones who flat out lie and don't know what privacy meets. Transparency is good. But confidential meetings do not equal transparency..might as well not even call them private or closed meetings.
Disgraced by my so called Board of Trustees that squeal like pigs to the first thing they think this website wants to hear.
Mark, you have great intentions seriously, but do you not agree with the me honestly about the words "confidential" and "private".
If transparency and accountability is what your going for than anonymity is really a hypocritical position...at least a first name should work okay because it is partially transparent, right?
(Editor's note: A first name guarantees nothing on the internet; nor does a full name that is not verifible. If people choose, like you, to write anonymously, that is their choice. I prefer people sign their full names like I do. As for "closed" and "open" meetings, there is not reason for the work of the Church not to be done in the light of day, if we are asking the world to believe we proclaim the light of the world. Two exceptions would be legal and personnel matters. But other than that, what don't we want the world to know if we are acting honorably, accountably, righteously? And if we are not, shame.)
#10 William on 2009-11-02 08:38
To the supporters of Fr. Antypas, just remember it was his letter that started all of this controversy. He drew the attention to himself. He called Bishop Mark a sinner and so now he is being judged by his own standard. Do not feel sorry for a man who not only shamed himself but drew in his own son-in-law and made him sign this letter that will haunt him for the rest of his ministry in America....
#11 anonymous on 2009-11-02 09:03
It is interesting to observe the similar language in several of the anonymous comments posted thus far on this thread. The Official Version seems to be that two trouble making people are raising hell in their parish for no particular reason, while the heroic Fr. Antypas and the Parish Council stand strong against their wicked plot.
You have a money-laundering and threat spewing felon up to his behind in parish business and, surprisingly, there are questions about where the money has been going, but, no, it can't be that something crooked has been going on. It's all being cooked up by those two trouble makers instead.
Cling to paranoid fantasies, and the result will be the same as when one Richard Milhous Nixon clung to his paranoid fantasies, except that the perp(s) don't get to rise away from the White House lawn in a helicopter as Gerald Ford waves bye-bye.
#12 Scott Walker on 2009-11-02 09:12
When I read the comments from the members of the Troy parish, I'm reminded of the psychological dynamics of "affinity fraud" as described in this article:
A few choice quotes:
“What you have in a Mormon community or any religious community is a community of trust, and it can be very strong,” says Hill,
“The guys who did this were geniuses in a way,” says Dana Carney, an assistant professor of management at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York, who has written about investor psychology. “This has the flavor of a cult. They hit all these vulnerabilities. There was religion; we trust like people, especially religiously like people. With the nightly calls, there was an illusion of transparency. They took advantage of the sunk-costs phenomenon: The more people invest in something, the more connected they feel.”
Somehow, the good people of the Troy parish [and I believe they are good people, despite the invective-laced posts] have come to believe that the mere act of questioning is a betrayal -- no doubt, no questions, stick with the group ... isn't that what lemmings do?
#13 Rebecca Matovic on 2009-11-02 11:36
I would be more sympathetic to this argument — are we going to go parish-by-parish now, nationwide? — if Met. Philip had not involved himself. In fact, he has long been a sort of background presence — and now his letter makes his importance here explicit.
Considering that Met. Philip is trying to do an end-run around Bp. Mark, and considering that Fr. Joseph was part of his delegation during the diocesan controversy, and the renewed claim that Bp. Mark has jurisdiction only in the city of Toledo — I'm afraid this is directly connected with the issue of the authority of the diocesans.
And, considering that Met. Philip has absolved the parish books, this dispute is also now connected to the Church's standards at the Archdiocesan level.
#14 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-11-02 13:14
I sign this message in strong support if my priest. He has been wonderful to me and my family and I will always cherish him. I know of the message our council chairman sent last week and I thought it was wonderful way to begin anew. It's too bad George and David didn't think so.
#15 Anonymous on 2009-11-02 15:07
The spirit of community within the archdiocese is simply poisoned. Trust has been broken and it can’t be restored by forcing one side of the argument to shut up, even if that were possible.
Frankly, it is irrelevant at this point whether the fault lies with those who may have engaged in corrupt or illegal activities or else with those who have accused others of such.
There is only one way to heal the rift: MP and the Board of Trustees must IMMEDIATELY order an archdiocesan audit to be conducted by a THIRD-PARTY firm acceptable to both sides. (Similar audits should take place in Troy or any other parish in which there is even the least suspicion of corruption.)
If it is shown that no financial improprieties have taken place, then those who leveled the accusations must ask forgiveness. If financial improprieties are demonstrated, then those who have engaged in them, or defended those who engaged in them, must ask forgiveness.
How many times does it have to be said: If no financial improprieties took place, then there is nothing to fear from an audit. In that case, carrying out a legitimate third-party audit will only build up trust in our hierarchy and begin the work of reuniting the people of the archdiocese. It will also help to bring AOANA into compliance with standard practices for non-profit religious organizations in the United States and stave off a possible probe by the government, and the very serious consequences that might follow from such a probe.
At this point the only reasons to refuse a REAL audit are 1) to hide the truth or 2) to delay until questionable funds in the archdiocesan coffers are sufficiently laundered to pass the smell test. But one way or another, the truth will out. If Englewood continues to block a legitimate third-party audit, then I hope and pray that swift legal action or severe government scrutiny forces them to do so, no matter the cost in treasure or loss of face.
#16 Douglas Dalrymple on 2009-11-02 16:14
"If transparency and accountability is what your going for than anonymity is really a hypocritical position...at least a first name should work okay because it is partially transparent, right?"
How about a REAL fist name, Joseph?
#17 Antionymous on 2009-11-02 17:03
All of this discussion is bunk!
If anyone REALLY wants the Truth, then there would be no objection to a full, external audit by a reputable CPA firm. Those opposing this, obviously, have something to hide!
End of discussion!
#18 Anonymous on 2009-11-03 07:02
Come to think of it, Scott, have you considered the term, "trouble maker", which (as you indicate) some of the respondents to this reporting have used to describe St. George's George Samra and David Thomas?
Well, let's see ... How about such men as St. John Chrysostom and St. Maximos the Confessor who, respectively, were exiled and mutilated for their "trouble making"; or, for that matter, the Son of God and our Savior, who was crucified because he "made trouble" for the Pharasees?
It would indeed seem that using the expression, Trouble Maker", as an accusation is at best problematic, and that to say the least in this case.
#19 Tod Mixson on 2009-11-03 09:18
This continuing refusal for audits makes it appear there is something very significant going on with church funds that must not see the sunlight... If this is the case, the Antiochian Archdiocese itself could be shut down in a heartbeat.
#20 anonymous on 2009-11-03 12:56
Quote: "If it is shown that no financial improprieties have taken place, then those who leveled the accusations must ask forgiveness. If financial improprieties are demonstrated, then those who have engaged in them, or defended those who engaged in them, must ask forgiveness."
I feel the need to emphasize that in no wise ought anyone need to apologize for wanting and aiding the establishment of transparent accounting, sound financial practices and controls, and independent professional auditing at all levels. The calls to implement these are not accusatory. These are ethical and reasonable proposals that are well past due.
#21 MWP on 2009-11-03 18:27
There was nothing private about the Board of Trustees meetings.
They have always been open to anyone who wants to attend.
This past spring when MP chastised Robert Koory and Charles Ajalat for being men of principles was the sole exception.
Very little, if anything, that has been "LEAKED" was "CONFIDENTIAL".
MP wants to be the mouthpiece so that he can put his own spin on matters first.
He has consistently misrepresented the PATRIARCH and HOLY SYNOD to us, our Board of Trustees, our priests and Bishops.
He has CONSISTENTLY MISREPRESENTED US to the PATRIARCH and HOLY SYNOD.
All one needs do is look at the TIME LINE organized by the Association of Orthodox Christian Attorneys to see ALL THE LIES OVER THE YEARS.
#22 stop wasting our time on 2009-11-03 20:30
Those in support of the current administration continue to boost Fr Joseph and denigrate Samra. But, still, none of these people explain who put him into a position of authority in the parish or how that happened. Please, coming here and saying that Mark is duped or George is a louse does no good unless you parishioners at St George can please explain why you elect so-called troublemakers to positions of important financial authority in your parish. Maybe next time one of you will volunteer for this very important position.
#23 Anonymous on 2009-11-04 00:02
You are absolutely correct.
MP's direct intervention implicates him as well and the Less Than Best Practices of the Archdiocese....
Hopefully, the people of the AOCANA have learned something through this grueling process?
The Holy CANONS of the Orthodox Church PROVIDE for ACCOUNTABILITY.
The HOLY SYNOD and the LOCAL SYNOD MUST provide for ACCOUNTABILITY!
Presently, both have failed to do so.
MP have bullied and cowed his PEERS for far too long.
Now is the time for the laity to speak and act.
STOP THE CASH FLOW TO ENGLEWOOD!
#24 anonymouse on 2009-11-05 06:01
Mark, where is the posting from the parish president to the parish council that you mentioned above?
(Editor's note: Had to wait an extra day. Sorry. It is up now.)
#25 Glad to not be Antiochian on 2009-11-06 00:04
You could have mentioned St Mark of Ephesus who rained on the Pope's parade by refusing to sign the accord of Florence. Thank God for men who stand up for what is right in the church; and, they will generally be mocked and scorned as they stand up for righteousness.
#26 Yanni on 2009-11-07 17:02
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