Archdiocese lists assets, creditors in Jan. 30 court filing

| January 30, 2015 | 0 Comments
The chancery building is home to the archbishop and several archdiocesan offices. Jessica Trygstad / The Catholic Spirit

The chancery building is home to several archdiocesan offices and connected to the archbishop’s residence. Jessica Trygstad / The Catholic Spirit

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed a listing of assets and creditors Jan. 30 with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Minnesota.

Among those assets are the Cathedral of St. Paul, the chancery and archbishop’s residence, a church building in Minneapolis and three tracts of land that host three Catholic high schools. The court required these filings 14 days after the initial petition for Chapter 11 Reorganization.

The archdiocese filed for Reorganization Jan. 16.

“This disclosure is part of the process that we hope will facilitate all available archdiocesan corporation resources to be distributed equitably among victims/survivors and allow the archdiocese to continue essential ministry,” Archbishop John Nienstedt said in a statement.

According to the filed documents, the archdiocese owns the Cathedral and its rectory, which it has been leasing to the Cathedral parish under a long-term lease. As part of the lease agreement, the Cathedral parish maintains the building, pays utilities and other expenses related to the building use, and funds any necessary improvements to the property.

The value of the Cathedral building is listed as unknown.

The archdiocese also owns the land upon which sit Benilde-St. Margaret High School in St. Louis Park, DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis and Totino-Grace High School in Fridley. It also leases the land to the schools as part of long-term lease agreements.  According to the filing, “no realizable value is assumed” for the properties.

The high schools pay for all maintenance, operation, utilities and improvements on the properties.

The chancery building and archbishop’s residence at 226 Summit Ave. are connected, and the filing lists them as a single building valued at nearly $6.3 million. Additional chancery offices are housed nearby in the Hayden Center and the Dayton Building, which are also listed in the documents as having values of $2.4 and $1.4 million, respectively.

Other real property assets include the Church of Gichitiwaa Kateri in Minneapolis, home to the archdiocese’s Office of Indian Ministry, and a residence in Northfield.

Among personal property assets listed are books, documents, artwork and other Church-related items, including historic pectoral crosses, crosiers and bishops’ rings. The filing also lists values of cash, checking and savings accounts, office furniture, vehicles and other equipment.

Parish co-debtors

Listed in the documents as co-debtors are 18 parishes, two Catholic high schools and a nursing home. In these cases, the entities entered into loan agreements where the archdiocese is a guarantor.

When the archdiocese filed for Reorganization, its leaders emphasized that parishes and schools are not included in the filing.

The documents also list all people, businesses or organizations the archdiocese has paid in the past 90 days.

“The information contained in this report is the result of our daily work to support the mission of the Catholic Church,” Archbishop Nienstedt said, adding that the finances are reviewed by Thomas Mertens, the archdiocese’s chief financial officer, as well as the Archdiocesan Finance Council, whose members are primarily lay professionals.  The numbers reflect the archdiocese’s status as of the filing date of Jan. 16.

As the Catholic Spirit previously reported, Archbishop Nienstedt and other archdiocesan leaders met with pastors, other parish leaders and school principals Jan. 25-27 to discuss the Reorganization and answer questions.

“These are necessary steps of transparency and accountability and essential in finding some measure of justice for those harmed by clergy sexual abuse, he said. “I pray that the Reorganization process continues to move this local Church forward on the journey toward restoring trust and healing for us all.”

Mediation under way

The archdiocese has entered into court-ordered mediation toward a settlement with victims/survivors of clergy sexual abuse and about a dozen of the archdiocese’s insurers.

As previously reported in The Catholic Spirit, the archdiocese said it chose Reorganization in order to equitably distribute available archdiocesan corporation resources among victims/survivors and allow the archdiocese to continue essential services to fulfill the mission of the Catholic Church.

After the archdiocese’s first-day motions hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Jan. 20, St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents most of the victims/survivors of clergy sex abuse with claims against the archdiocese, said the mediation process may take weeks or months, but not years.

The archdiocese is the 12th U.S. diocese to file for bankruptcy protection in the face of mounting claims of clergy sexual abuse. In 2013, the Minnesota Legislature lifted the civil statute of limitations on claims of child sexual abuse for a three-year period.

The archdiocese is facing 21 pending clergy sexual abuse cases, representing more than 125 victims/survivors. It anticipates additional claims to be made before the window on historic claims closes.

In November, the archdiocese filed a federal lawsuit against 20 of its insurers as part of its efforts to secure an equitable settlement for victims/survivors.

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