Saturday, June 9, 2012

Excuse me, your Honor, while I kiss the sky

"U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley called the [legal] fees 'astronomical' at a hearing this week" in our Archdiocese's Chapter 11, today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

The meters are still running, and here's a breakdown of the current readings.
"As of Friday, fees and ex penses approved for four firms representing the archdiocese total nearly $2.2 million, according to court records. More than $1.5 million has been approved for three firms representing creditors.

"Fees in a related lawsuit over $55 million transferred by the archdiocese into a cemetery trust have topped $1 million, according to court records. Creditors are seeking permission to file a similar lawsuit over $35 million in parish funds. In addition, both sides are pursuing appeals on rulings by Kelley, and the archdiocese has filed a new round of objections in an effort to throw out sex abuse claims.

"The nearly $4 million does not include fees for other professionals such as forensic accountants or auditors who provide additional information for the attorneys."
I have imagined our Chancery staff lives in a bunker, but it turns out it might be true, and they've never seen the night sky.
"Archdiocese spokesman Jerry Topczewski said he had no frame of reference to respond to the judge's assertion that the fees are astronomical... ."
If he's speaking figuratively, reporter Annysa Johnson provides a frame of reference.
"Catholic Church bankruptcies have proved expensive in other dioceses. In Portland, Ore., for example, lawyers submitted a final bill of $18.8 million; and in Spokane, Wash., $8.3 million, according to news accounts."
Seems like information that might have been discoverable when the decision to file for bankruptcy was under consideration.

As of July 4, 2012, the case will have been pending one and one-half years. The article indicates some kind of negotiations in progress.

P.S. From the archives: CFO answers VOTF questions, May 29, 2006

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