Judge Decides to Exclude Other Properties of Catholic Church in the Bankruptcy Case of the Archdiocese

by San Antonio Attorney

A bankruptcy judge denied the request of the victims of clergy abuse to include the properties of Catholic Church in the bankruptcy estate of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The ruling of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel on July 28, 2016 prevented the efforts of the abuse victims to increase the funds available to resolve their claims.

The committee of the abuse victims plans to appeal the judge’s decision, while the Catholic parishes were pleased with the outcome ruling.  According to Archbishop Bernard Hebda, an added litigation will pointlessly make the process longer and chomp through the claimants’ funds.

In his written statement, Kressel explained that he does not have the power to combine the assets of the entities concerned, which includes schools, parishes, cemeteries, foundation and financial services company.
The judge also said that even if he had the authority, the facts presented by the victims’ committee were not enough to validate a consolidation.

The request of the victims’ committee was filed in May.  The consolidation of assets was estimated to reach $1.7 billion.  Upon filing for bankruptcy last year, the declared net worth of Archdiocese of St.  Paul and was $45 million.

The motion filed by the victims’ committee claims that the archdiocese moved a lot of funds into its nonprofit organizations, after it became obvious that lawsuits against clergies were set to blow up.

The lawyers of the victims had submitted documents coming from the archdiocese demonstrating that within that period, the Catholic Services Appeal Foundation and Catholic Finance Corporation were formed out of the archdiocese.  There were also pictures shown in which the “Archdiocese of St.  Paul and Minneapolis” had been erased in the Catholic cemeteries.

The victims’ committee is alleging that the archdiocese concealed assets, which should be given to the survivors of clergy abuses.

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