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‘irregular’ Church finances

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.cantonrep.com/index.php?ID=327404&Category=8 Audit: Orthodox finances irregular THE
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 30, 2006
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      <http://www.cantonrep.com/index.php?ID=327404&Category=8>http://www.cantonrep.com/index.php?ID=327404&Category=8

      Audit: Orthodox finances 'irregular'
      THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

      NEW YORK A preliminary investigation of longtime financial wrongdoing
      in the administration of the Orthodox Church in America confirmed
      claims of impropriety that outside auditors said "centered on and
      around one individual."

      The Holy Synod of Bishops and the Metropolitan Council, which
      oversees church administration, said that financial controls had been
      "circumvented" at least since 1998, and that auditors had uncovered a
      "pattern of personal use of church money" for years.

      The person believed responsible for the misconduct was not identified
      in the statement and no figure was released on the amount of money involved.
      A spokesman for the 400,000-member church, based in Syosset, N.Y.,
      said he could provide no further details.

      Church leaders commissioned the audit following claims by the former
      treasurer, Protodeacon Eric Wheeler, that the church chancellor,
      Robert S. Kondratick, and Metropolitan Theodosius, the now-retired
      head of the church, were chief perpetrators of "financial corruption."

      Among the wrongdoing auditors said they uncovered were falsified
      financial reports and attempts to divert money that had been donated
      to charity.

      Harry Kutner, an attorney for Kondratick, insists that the clergyman,
      who was dismissed as chancellor in March, did nothing wrong, arguing
      leaders of the denomination are making Kondratick a scapegoat.

      Theodosius, who retired in 2002, declined to comment.

      Auditors Find Misconduct In Orthodox Church

      In related news, a probe of financial wrongdoing in the Orthodox
      Church in America has confirmed claims of impropriety that outside
      auditors said "centered on and around one individual."

      Former church chancellor Robert Kondratick's lawyer said "it's pretty
      obvious" that the unidentified person mentioned in the report is his
      client, but insists that Kondratick did nothing wrong.

      The Orthodox Church in America's Metropolitan Council and Holy Synod
      of Bishops say the auditors uncovered a "pattern of personal use of
      church money" for years.

      Among the wrongdoing auditors said they found were falsified
      financial reports and attempts to divert money that had been donated
      to charity.



      VILLANOVA, Pa. -- An overwhelming majority of respondents in a study
      of financial controls in U.S. Roman Catholic dioceses reported cases
      of embezzlement in the last five years.

      Eighty-five percent of the diocesan administrators who took part in
      the review told Villanova University researchers that internal thefts
      had been uncovered in their dioceses.

      The report, written by Villanova professors Charles Zech and Robert
      West and supported by a grant from the Louisville Institute, did not
      include an estimate of the money lost. But 11 percent of respondents
      said total embezzlements in the last five years exceeded $500,000,
      while 29 percent reported cases of less than $50,000.

      In nearly all of the cases, police reports were filed, the survey found.

      Zech and West undertook the study in response to the clergy sex abuse
      crisis, which brought pressure on bishops to disclose how much they
      had paid in abuse-related costs and to be more open with parishioners
      in general about diocesan finances.

      Forty-five percent of the more than 170 U.S. dioceses responded to
      questions for the report, which was released Dec. 13. The authors
      recommended dioceses establish fraud policies, conduct annual audits
      of parishes and establish a uniform budgeting process that uses
      standardized software.

      Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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