Skip to comments.VA: [Episcopal] Diocese of Virginia in Financial Crunch Over Lawsuits
Posted on 01/04/2008 2:05:33 PM PST by rabscuttle385
The Diocese of Virginia is taking out a $2 million "line of credit" to pursue lawsuits against a dozen parishes that have fled their ecclesiastical grip. Revenues from remaining parishes have fallen short of expectations as parishes cease to pledge or fall behind on their payments.
The diocese also plans to sell "real properties" to raise cash. The Virginia Episcopalian, the official publication of the Diocese of Virginia, is reporting in its current edition that the Executive Board has "authorized the treasurer to open a $1 million line of credit to cover anticipated legal expenses for the near-term. That line has since been increased to $2 million and about $1 million has been accessed."
In addition, the Executive Board of the Diocese of Virginia authorized diocesan staff to plan "the sale of non-strategic diocesan real property" to raise needed cash.
The Diocese also revealed that nine churches have not paid any of their pledges, which Mike Kerr, Treasurer of the Diocese, estimated as a loss to the diocese of $50,000. In addition, other churches have not paid their pledges in full causing the diocese to run a deficit of expenses over income from those pledges.
"Even with those nine pledges paid in full, however, anticipated revenue may fall short of expenses, mostly from unfulfilled pledges from other churches," said the diocesan newspaper.
(Excerpt) Read more at virtueonline.org ...
This is the apostate side p***ing away their cash right? That's a pretty fast burn rate. The fact their lawyers aren't working on a contingency basis tells you something. I was always pretty straight with my clients in this regard. When I refused to take a case on a contingency basis and they offered to pay me hourly I would look them in the eye and say: "I know what I'm doing here and if I don't see an upside in investing in this case why should you?" Most got the message.
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I hope not a regulated one. My first guess would be that they are 'borrowing' from the ECUSA.
I guess that “Bishop” Jefferts Schori would rather bankrupt the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia than permit a few Christians to escape her clutches with their property.
I sure to goodness hope it's not one in which I hold stock. When you have to borrow money to pay your lawyers, that is almost always a harbinger of disaster.
Bp. Lee has got to feel pretty sick right now.
He had hammered out an agreement with the departing parishes which allowed them to keep their property in exchange for payments to the Diocese. Then 815 interfered and forced him somehow to change his tune and litigate (I do wonder if Beers has photos of Lee in a compromising position, or if he just threatened his pension.)
Now it looks like the good bishop is left holding a very ugly bag full of nasty. I wonder if he still thinks it was worth it to give in to 815. . . . I doubt it.
Eat your heart out Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee! You and Bishop Jones have no one to blame but yourselves. Bishop Gray, a tough former Marine, knew how to vote on Vickie Gene’s application to join your club—once again proving that even a “jarhead” gets things right every now and then.
“When you have to borrow money to pay your lawyers, that is almost always a harbinger of disaster.”
Not for the lawyers, AM! :)
No, it’s a disaster for the lawyers too, because they usually don’t get paid!
“No, its a disaster for the lawyers too, because they usually dont get paid!”
Its been my very long experience that when a client borrows money from someone other than me to pay my bill, I do indeed get paid, AM.
This business of legal fees for this diocese surprises me a bit. I would think that among the Episcopalians of Va. there are plenty of high powered trial lawyers. One would also think that when it comes to one’s church, one volunteers one’s talent when needed. I’ve acted as counsel from time to time for our Orthodox metropolis on a number of occasions over the years. I can honestly say it has never occurred to me to send them a bill...and as you know, I am a very great sinner so holiness has nothing to do with it.
And suing for ones fees almost guarantees a counterclaim for legal malpractice.
Fortunately, I was usually sweeping up after such a mess, not personally involved in it.
I don't know any lawyer who won't do legal work for his or her church for free. But I have a feeling that the high-powered litigators in VA are mostly in the departing parishes, not in the bishop's corner.
I don’t believe David Virtue’s site requires excerpting. Unnecessary exceprting is hard on those on dial-up because so many sites (esp. TV station sites) lard up on graphics. In my dialup days I rarely clicked through — and today I still don’t do it often.
I've yet to see a jarhead priest get things wrong. (My bishop is a jarhead too.)
rabscuttle, can you comment?
“And suing for ones fees almost guarantees a counterclaim for legal malpractice.”
We haven’t sunk that low yet up here, but we don’t usually sue over fees anyway. Generally people don’t pay because they quite literally can’t and suing won’t change that. On the other hand, when a former client is simply being difficult, well we do what we have to do. I once got paid ten minutes before the start of the sheriff’s sale of the client’s home (great scene, complete with weeping wife and kiddies...we have a video of it).
I don’t understand their claim to the Falls Church. The last deed recorded was from a farmer, to the Anglican church, in 17 mumble mumlble.
So the Epescopalians think that they own it, because they decided that they do?
Not in VA.
I knew a firm in South Georgia that extended that to any church in town.
No. The wave of departures (of whole churches, with properties) that began around the later 1970s spurred the "passage" of the Dennis Canon in the early 80s. That canon declared that the properties were essentially owned by the diocese, not the parish, and was a clear attempt to stanch the bleeding.
Although it is not clear whether it was ever properly ratified under canon law (there is no record that it ever was, and suspicion remains that the books were "cooked"), it did stem the departure of parish properties if not parishioners.
Since V. Gene Robinson, a gay who left his wife for a homosexual lover, was made an Episcopal church bishop, the matter has come to the fore and some jurisdictions' secular laws have resulted in the the property being awarded to the departing congregations.
This is the basis of the TEC claim upon the Falls Church.
I'm no pundit, but it seems the Falls Church issue could possibly end up driving a stake into the Dennis Canon and maybe this is why the massive girding up by TEC.
This "Dennis canon" however seems to have never been properly ratified. And there is a Virginia law that gives property rights to congregations that "separate" from the main body.
You add that to the fact that the older parishes indeed predate this COUNTRY, let alone the Episcopal Church as a corporate body, and the Virginia parishes probably have the best shot at getting away from 815 with their property as any parishes in the country.
Georgia is another story. The church here is overwhelmingly liberal anyhow, no more than 3-4 orthodox congregations in the entire diocese. And Georgia law overwhelmingly favors the national church. So those of us who were actually orthodox just shook the dust of the church from our sandals. Fortunately none of our relatives are buried at our old parish -- we have a family graveyard up in Rome GA and we'll simply have a Catholic priest consecrate the ground when it comes time.
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