Source: The National Herald
NEW YORK – Chase Manhattan Bank recently notified the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and also the National Philoptochos that it is essentially “throwing them out” and it doesn’t want to do business with them any longer.
The issue was kept secret from both the Archdiocese and the Philoptochos until now.
Sources from within the Archdiocese told The National Herald that Chase arrived at this decision because the Archdiocese continuously issued checks with insufficient funds in the accounts and as result the checks bounced.
This check-bouncing practice increased over the last few years, especially after the death of the great benefactors of the Archdiocese Michael Jaharis and Nicholas Bouras, who were making big contributions and intervening with Chase in order to save the Archdiocese from embarrassment.
We clarify here that the Philoptochos didn’t issue bad checks, but TNH has learned it is actually a victim by association because of the use of the name Greek Orthodox, and thus it was identified with the Archdiocese.
Philoptochos President Maria Logus, who is an attorney, did not respond to TNH’s request for comment, but Philoptochos members spoke with TNH under conditions of anonymity and said the issue with Chase did arise at their meeting, but the leadership did not provide any details, trying to prevent any leak of information.
Archdiocesan Council Vice Chair George Tsandikos and CFO Fr. Soterios Baroody also did not respond to TNH’s request for comment.
Meanwhile, the main issue at the general assemblies in many parishes is the revealing articles of The National Herald about the “bankrupt” condition of the Archdiocese. They all seem to have a common proposal to stop sending monthly contributions to the Archdiocese and instead to deposit them in an escrow account until a detail financial report is given by professional independent auditors, preferably the forensic type.
At the St. Nicholas parish in Flushing, it was decided that a letter should be sent to the Archdiocese requesting a detailed financial report as well as the dismissal of Fr. Baroody from his position as CFO. Also, a proposal was made to withhold to funds to the Archdiocese, but Fr. Paul Palestis stood up and made an appeal to the general assembly not to procced with that proposal, because a he said “I would be placed in a very difficult position.” Thus, the members of the assembly, out of respect for Fr. Palestis, did not procced with that proposal, and for now will continue sending the funds to the Archdiocese.
Also, a lengthy discussion took place on November 16 during the general assembly of the Sts. Peter and Paul parish in Chicago about the Archdiocese’s dire financial situation. They didn’t take any action to withhold the funds because there was no quorum, but they are going to have a special general assembly in the next few weeks.
Many parish council members and presidents, as well as the many in the Greek-American community at large, are commenting about Archbishop Demetrios’ appointment of Metropolitan Alexios as the Presiding Hierarch for the Audit Committee.
Also, extensive discussions are taking place in many parishes that the metropolitans and the Metropolises are totally unchecked in their finances and that the financial reports they provide at the local Clergy Laity Congress are really substandard and full of generalities.