by Dean Popps
So, if I understand all the mumbo-jumbo emanating from the archdiocese, the Greek papers and various Clergy-Laity rapporteurs, here’s the score –
The archdiocese is obligated directly or indirectly, as follows:
# Perhaps as much as an additional $50m is needed to finish the ill-conceived St. Nicholas project and up to $3m a year is required ad infinitum to maintain it. There is a notion involving existing pledges (receivables) to the tune of $12m to off-set this, but, given what has transpired and the complete loss of confidence in the archdiocese and the project, that number has to be seriously discounted.
# The priest pension fund is “missing” $50m. Missing or underfunded is a distinction without a difference. The money ain’t where it should be and answers are foggy to non-existent, at best, as to where that money went.
# The archdiocesan headquarters in NYC now has a mortgage of $5m and a revolver line of credit, probably at 8 or 10% interest, to help them through the expected continuing tight cash situations, that totals $7.5 million.
# The archdiocese owes upwards of another $2m on other properties such as the Archdiocesan Cathedral, Cathedral Towers, etc. (hard to get accurate numbers because related entities are not reported).
# Unknown legal liabilities related to commercial claims against the archdiocese and civil claims against its priests and operations for various reasons. Unknown liabilities related to possible civil and criminal state/federal investigations. Legal and accounting/audit bills probably in the 100s of thousands. Court costs would push this into the millions.
# Annual operating deficits and long-term sustainment issues exist at every related institution–HCHC/ St. Basil/ St. Michael’s/ all Metropolises–you name it. Not a single, well-run, accountable related entity. Every entity relies on the GOA headquarters for funding. “Mr. Bouras and Mr. Jaharis have passed, what do we do now?”, is the only depth of the operating plan.
# An archdiocesan operating budget that includes an approved $1m DEFICIT for this year. This is to take a stab at putting $1m of the $50m owed to the priests back in the till, but, If you do that, you can’t pay the mortgages you just encumbered yourself with and an insolvent organization becomes even more at risk of sheer collapse.
So, do I have this right, so far?
All in, we need~ $110m in knowns and ~$XXm in unknowns to float this sunken ship?
At the same time, major donors and the rank and file have fled for the exits. Confidence in the entire institution and all of its leaders is in a death spiral. There are no “grow the business and grow the customers” plans, just a further unappealing behaviors from the Phanar.
The parish pews are emptying two at a time, membership and attendance is poor.
Priests are dispirited and abused, as a viable cadre, they are withering on the vine, filled with personal problems, mental health, physical and addiction issues. And The Phanar and Greece (our true bosses) insist our real priorities should be the Turks, Macedonia, Cyprus, not the American Church and its priests and faithful.
Meanwhile, our “strategic partners” (i.e partners we have supported by various means, one way or another—The Phanar, the Republic of Greece and Cyprus, the “powerful Greek Lobby”, and all Greek causes good or bad—all of whom have been feeding at our trough for a century) are nowhere to be seen nor offer any help. The carcass has been stripped bare.
And, to rub salt in the wound, the same “management team”, robed and unrobed, the same inept lay “chairmen” of this and that standing committee, and the same comatose “archdiocesan council members”–all remain in place. But, the “restructure guy” quit on the spot.
There is no believable, executable plan for renewal except “pay archdiocesan dues in advance” (similar to Republic of Greece’s financial plan of borrowing the “payment due” and add it to the balance) and horse-whipping the major parishes for more cash.
Many, many parishes are living hand to mouth and are being bled dry by the GOA mandatory franchise payments and by truly unacceptable Metropolitans.
Do I have this summary about right?
Oh, and of course, everyone went to Greece for the summer!!
The old English nursery rhyme that Mama used to read me comes to mind……
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.