Wednesday, January 30, 2008

$3 million deficit forces archdiocese to make cuts

Tom Heinen reports today in the online edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The possible sale of the Archdiocese's headquarters Cousins Center fell through. The expected proceeds of that sale were to fund part of the settlement of priest sexual abuse claims in California (see my earlier posts). The sale falling through is one factor in "substantial cuts in staffing and services for the fiscal year that begins July 1". The other is the lawsuits in Wisconsin that will now be proceeding (see my previous post).
When the California lawsuits were settled, it appeared that the archdiocese had avoided the possibility of having to file for bankruptcy. But the Wisconsin suits may lead to reconsideration of that because, except for the Cousins Center, the archdiocese has sold most of its property and does not have reserves, Topczewski [Jerry Topczewski, chief of staff for Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan] said.

P.S. In an unrelated development, Archdiocese of Milwaukee to Underwrite PBS Program Prayer in America.

6 comments:

  1. suburban mom8:26 PM

    That's great about the PBS sponsorship! Or are they supposed to just stop working and wait for their jobs to be cut?

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  2. Anonymous7:30 AM

    Key clause "most of its property". DOes the Archmil still own those parcels in Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha County? How about 'All Souls Cemetery' in Franklin (currently hosting only one grave - that land has gotta be worth more than 50 cents). I suppose taking into account all the closed churches, one could accuratley say they've sold 'most' of their property. But what remains may be the most valuable. Perhaps I'm missing the land holdings and patrimony in the financial statements?

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  3. Suburban Mom, it's possible some uncompensated sexual abuse claimant or employee facing layoff or beneficiary of a program facing cutbacks might wonder how there was money for PBS underwriting. As might anyone else who contributes financially.

    Anonymous, it might well be that a lot of Archdiocesan property isn't marketable. That might be the case with a cemetery after only one burial. It might also be the case that a lot of Archdiocesan property isn't as valuable or marketable as one might think. The Cousins Center is an example. On the other hand, we saw so many inner-city parishes closed as unsustainable, then not long after there was $450,000 available to pay Mr. Marcoux.

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  4. Anonymous12:15 PM

    You may well be correct, or partially correct, about the present value of some property. Has it been assessed? Is the current assessment reflected in financial statements? I tend to think property in proximity to current subdivisions in those counties is worth something - at least enough to underwrite a PBS program or two.
    And comprehensive "Transparency" would mean you and I, all the faithful of SE WI in fact, would not be left to speculate about such things. (I believe there's only one grave to keep its zoning intact - should that grave be exhumed, the property may become zoned commercial or residential)

    Why the consistent sense the other shoe, and then some, is always about to drop when it comes to the Archmil?

    I appreciate Abp. Dolan's energy - just wish it was more directed as equitable resolution of the abuse problems, rather than the apparent stall tactics.

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  5. "I believe there's only one grave to keep its zoning intact"

    For once we know where the bodies are buried.

    "Why the consistent sense the other shoe, and then some, is always about to drop when it comes to the Archmil?"

    'The Imelda Marcos of dioceses' helps me, but probably doesn't do much for Suburban Mom.

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  6. Why the consistent sense the other shoe, and then some, is always about to drop when it comes to the Archmil?

    I'd suggest that you pick up the Milwaukee Journal's 2/1/08 edition.

    OR the 2/2/08 edition, which will tell us that Archmil officials KNEW ABOUT a nun's abuse of a juvenile, but DID NOT REPORT IT to civil authorities. (That was 1996.)

    When the sky is raining shoes, you expect some to drop, no?

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