Source: The National Herald
By Theodoros Kalmoukos
BOSTON – The restricted and inviolate Leadership 100 funds, in excess of 2.5 million dollars donated in 2017 which were to be allocated to various departments of the Archdiocese in support of specific programs and ministries, were not actually allocated for their intended purpose, according to reliable sources of The National Herald.
Disturbingly, as in previous similar instances of misallocation by the Archdiocese, nobody seems to know what happened to the funds.
TNH has learned that some of the heads of departments were persuaded, at the risk of losing their jobs, to falsify their annual reports to indicate that the funds were received. However, as proven a few weeks ago, no monies were transferred.
TNH tried for many days to contract Mr. George Tsandikos, chairman of The Leadership 100 but he has not respond to our numerous requests. In a telephone conversation with Paulette Poulos, executive director of the Organization, she told us “I can’t speak to you on behalf of chairman Mr. George Tsandikos.”
The Leadership 100 is one of the most prestigious and well organized 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations of the Greek-American Community. Many years ago, during Archbishop Spyridon’s tenure it became an independent and separate corporation from the Archdiocese for security purposes. As a matter of fact, the Leadership 100 website directly states that “the principle of the Fund remains permanently restricted and inviolate.” This financial distinction was created for the specific purpose of preventing the Archdiocese from using these funds for operational expenses and from possible legal implications of pedophile priests and other sexual misconducts of the clergy.
The Organization has in its coffers $91,100,000. It is comprised of 1,060 members out of whom 680 have fulfilled their pledges of $100,000 each, hence the name Leadership 100. It has given since 1984 the sum of $48,198,332 towards the programs and ministries of the Archdiocese, the School of Theology, and the Metropolises.
The Organization has given for the current year 2017 the sum of $2,600,000; for 2016 $3,672.278; for 2015 $1,735,799 and an additional $700,000; and for 2014 $2,453,833. Among the grants of 2014 the Organization gave to the Metropolis of Boston the sum $100,000 for the ministry of emerging leaders.
Just last week at the request of Archbishop Demetrios, $75,000 of Leadership 100 funds were given for operational expenses (in direct violation of the restriction) to publish an edition of the “Orthodox Observer” to answer the many revelations of The National Herald about the dire financial situation of the Archdiocese in an effort to pacify the faithful that everything is good and nice; even though just a few weeks ago the Archdiocese eliminated the positions of the entire production staff of the “Orthodox Observer” stating that the publication was being eliminated due to financial constraints. Of note is the fact that $75,000 is an approximation of the annual salaries of the staff whose positions were eliminated.
The Archbishop will attempt in his encyclical to say something similar he said on Sunday October 1st in a New York parish that “we have money because we have Leadership 100, the Organization “Faith,” and the St. Michael’s Home for the Aged.” We clarify here again that Leadership 100 is a separate organization and its funds are restricted for specific purposes. The Organization “Faith” has already distanced itself from the Archdiocese and gives scholarships directly to Greek-American college students and to the Ionian Village as TNH reported recently.
TNH is in a unique position of having obtained information that many members of the Leadership 100 are annoyed, primarily because the Organization gave the aforementioned $75,000 to the Archbishop for the “Orthodox Observer” and they are now asking the rhetorical question of “why” did we give our money for this type of spending? Also, they demand an answer to what happened to the funds given to the Archdiocese for its programs and ministries? These funds are unaccountable for at least one year.
Some in the Archdiocese are trying very desperately to say that Archbishop Demetrios didn’t know what was going on with the finances and that there were deficits in millions. They forget that it was the Archbishop who was begging huge amounts of monies from Michael Jaharis and Nicholas Bouras to pay the salaries of the employees of the Archdiocese.
Leadership 100 is a non-profit Organization established in 1984 during the tenure of the late Archbishop Iakovos. The basic idea was the Archdiocese to find 100 Greek-American to give $100,000 dollars each. They could give the money once or in ten installments of $10,000 in the course of ten years. Later the Organization was named after Archbishop Iakovos. It can only support existing programs of the Archdiocese. It can’t give money to pay operation expenses of the Archdiocese nor to pay its deficits or loans.