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  A Chronology of the Scandal:
  • An August 1993 internal OCA memo concerning the 1992 Financial Statement of the OCA, warns that shortcomings inthe OCA financial procedures, including inaccurate data, untimely reports, problems in the documentation of disbursements and a failure to separate duties, threatens the “financial integrity of the Church.” The memo, addressed to Fr. Robert Kondratick, Chancellor, Treasurer Fr. Paul Kucynda, and Secretary to the Metropolitan Deacon Eric Wheeler, from the three-man OCA Audit Committee, notes that some of these failings had been known since 1990, and that this “...lack of accounting policies cannot continue.”
    (0) Read the 1993 Audit Committee memo

  • On June 26, 1997, after completing the official 1996 audit of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), the Audit Committee of the OCA sends an official memo to Metropolitan Theodosius (Primate of the OCA), the Very Rev. Fr. Robert Kondratick (Chancellor of the OCA), and Protodeacon Eric Wheeler (Treasurer of the OCA) warning that the documentation concerning certain OCA American Express accounts controlled by individuals “are outside of good business practice and accounting principles.” They “strongly encourage” this be rectified in 1997 so as to avoid “adverse publicity”.
    (1) Read the Audit Committee memo
  • In October 1997, Wheeler discovers that a $250,000 check sent to the Church by the Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Foundation was not deposited into the audited bank accounts of the OCA but a secret “discretionary account”. Wheeler subsequently refuses to sign off on the financial reports of the Orthodox Church in America for the years 1997 and 1998; “Draft reports” are submitted to the administrative bodies of the church instead. He is forbidden by +Theodosius or Kondratick to discuss the recommendations of the Audit Committee or the existence of the "discretionary account" with the Metropolitan Council.
    (2) Read Wheeler’s account

  • In May 1999, as he reviews the 1998 audit, an accountant with Lambrides, Lamos, Malthroup & Co. (Rob Taylor, CPA) is alerted to an unrecorded 1998 donation of $250,000 to the OCA by the ADM Foundation. Taylor informs the Chairman of the OCA’s Audit Committee (John Kozey) of the discrepancy.

  • On June 20, 1999, Wheeler reveals to Taylor and Kozey the existence of a secret “discretionary account”, controlled by Metropolitan Theodosius into which the ADM monies, and other OCA monies, have been placed. The 1998 audit is placed “on hold” by Taylor and Kozey pending an audit of this hitherto unknown account.
    (3) Read Wheeler’s account

  • On July 8, 1999, at a meeting of Kondratick, Wheeler, Kozey, Taylor, the Audit Committee and the OCA's lawyer (Jonathan Russin) a "special review" is agreed upon whereby a new accounting firm, to be nominated by Russin and approved by the Audit Committee, will audit +Theodosius' discretionary account within 60 days. Russin insists that the results be communicated to him alone so they will be protected by "attorney-client privilege". (3.5) Read excerpts from the Minutes of that meeting

  • On July 14, 1999, the Audit Committee informs Metropolitan Theodosius of the agreement.
    (4) Read the Audit Committee’s memo

  • On July 26, 1999, at the Holy Synod meeting that opens the All American Council in Pittsburgh, Metropolitan Theodosius urges the Synod to reaffirm the "principle" of the Primate’s “right” to maintain a discretionary account. So as to maintain the “privacy of the Primate”, the “confidentiality of the donors” and the “anonymity of the beneficiaries” the Synod rejects an audit of such an account in principle. No mention, however, is made to the Holy Synod of the sums involved in the account.
    (5) Read the Holy Synod’s decision

  • Unable to audit the account, and unwilling to certify the audit without them, the Audit Committee does not give its final 1998 report to the All American Council (July 26-30, 1999). No mention is made of the administrative stalemate, or its root causes, to the Council by either the Metropolitan, Kondratick or Wheeler. Wheeler ends his report with a cryptic warning aimed +Theodosius: "For a brief time in history, those of us placed in positions of administrative leadership are given the awesome responsibility of being wise stewards of the material resources of the Church. We will be held accountable before God for this. But we are also accountable to you, the clergy and faithful who provide us with the prayerful support and material resources to carry out the work of the Church."

  • On July 30, 1999, at the Metropolitan Council meeting that concludes the All American Council, Metropolitan Theodosius reappoints Fr. Kondatrick for another three year term, but declines to reappoint anyone else for the full triennium.

  • On September 21, 1999, fully a week after the “special review” of the secret discretionary account was to have concluded, Kozey writes to the Metropolitan complaining that no review has been undertaken. He formally asks for access to all accounts.
    (6) Read Kozey’s letter to Metropolitan Theodosius

  • That same day, Kondratick and Wheeler travel to South Canaan PA to meet with Archbishop Herman of Eastern Pennsylvania to fully explain the problem and discuss the ongoing stalemate.

  • The following day, September 22, 1999, Wheeler is informed he has been removed from employment at the Chancery. Archbishop Herman is appointed “Acting Treasurer”.

  • Later that same day, September 22, 1999, Taylor writes to the new acting Treasurer, +Herman, to inform him that the 1998 audit has not been completed “because the Church has not made available all financial records and relevant data.”
    (7) Read Taylor’s letter to +Herman

  • On September 28, 1999, Taylor writes to +Herman again informing him that “reportable conditions” exist in Syosset accounts, and attaches a letter dated June 21,1999 that details how the structural problems that allowed these conditions to arise might be corrected.
    (8) Read Taylor’s letter to +Herman

  • That same day, Kozey informs the Metropolitan Council of the existence of "at least one" unaudited “discretionary account”, and furthermore, that since 1992 “significant amounts “of money were “not on the Church accounting records”. By expanding the circle of those who know, Kozey moves the “stalemate” into a “crisis”.
    (9) Read Kozey’s letter to the Metropolitan Council

  • On September 29, 1999, Metropolitan Theodosius presents a “reorganization” plan to the Lesser Synod that officially “redefines” the office of Treasurer and “outsources the majority of technical financial operations”. This “reorganization” is surpising to many since no “reorganization” had been even hinted at the AAC only 2 months earlier.
    (10) Read the OCA Press Release announcing the “reorganization”;
    (11) Read the July 26, 1999 Address of the Primate to the AAC

  • On October 1, 1999,Wheeler refuses to comment on his dismissal, or on the discretionary account, to concerned Metropolitan Council members, citing an “ecclesiastical gag order” that threatens him with suspension should he do so.
    (12) Read The Orthodox News Story (Page 2)

  • On October 8, 1999, Kozey writes to all members of the Metropolitan Council again, confirming that the Audit Committee will be available to discuss the crisis during the upcoming Metropolitan Council meeting in November.
    (13) Read Kozey’s letter

  • On October 18, 1999, Kozey is informed he has been removed as Chairman of the Audit Committee by the “Administrative Committee” of the Metropolitan Council, headed by Kondratick, as Chancellor. While Kozey may remain a member of the Audit Committee, the Committee expresses disappointment for “his unilateral action in revealing the existence of the discretionary accounts” to the entire Metropolitan Council.
    (14) Read the Adminstrative Council’s memo to Kozey as quoted in Orthodox News 11/99

  • On November 9, 1999, Kozey responds in a letter informing the Metropolitan Council that not only has the “special review” of the discretionary accounts not been undertaken during the period specified, but no review has been undertaken at all. He warns Council members of their fiduciary responsibilities as officers of a non-profit institution chartered in the state of New York.
    (15) Read Kozey’s response

  • On November 15, 1999, the church “crisis” becomes a public “scandal” as the story, together with Kozey’s letters to the Metropolitan Council, are posted on OrthodoxNews.com.
    (16) Read the Orthodox News story

  • On November 17, 1999, Orthodox News reveals that the amount placed in the secret discretionary account was in fact twice as large ($500,000) as had been originally reported two days earlier.
    (17) Read the Orthodox News story

  • On November 18, 1999, the Metropolitan Council meets in Syosset. While confirming the “special review” is now underway, Metropolitan Theodosius and Archbishop Herman refuse to discuss any details, including who is performing the special review, what it entails, and when it would be completed. While the Council unanimously agrees to “ do what is right” and “to do it in the right way”, the meeting is tense. The published press release was not adopted unanimously.
    (18) Read the Metropolitan Council’s press release

  • In December 1999, publicly available documents reveal more than $1 million in contributions from ADM to the OCA - none of which appears on church records. See ADM’s own records of their donations to the OCA from 1992 -1999 at the National Center for Charitable Stastics website at nccsdataweb.urban.org (The OCA is listed under its former legal name of “The Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church”)

  • On January 3, 2000, Orthodox News reveals that more than $2 million has been placed in the secret account between 1992 - 1999. To put this amount in perspective, the amounts placed in the “discretionary account” in 1996 alone were equal to more than 50% of the “official” OCA budget of that year. The continuing revelations – and growing amount of monies involved – moves the “scandal” beyond one of simple financial mismanagement to one of larger questions involving accountability in the Church.
    (19) Read the Orthodox News story

  • Attempts by members of the Metropolitan Council to have the Church Administration address these issues meet with denial, stonewalling and intimidation. Some members were forbidden to attend meetings, others forced into silence. Those clergy and laity who continued to raise questions in private, in public or on the internet, about glaring discrepancies in OCA finances - including new questions about the management of charitable funds - are openly criticized.
    (20) Read former Met Council member Greg Nescott’s account;
    (21) Read former Met Council member Mark Stokoe’s January 2000 Report to the Midwest Diocesan Council;
    (22) Read Stokoe’s letter to his Dean on what happened at that meeting.

  • On January 17, 2000, Kondratick receives an email from Richard Rock, formerly of Martinez & Murphy, now of R & T Design Group in Las Vegas. Rock encourages Kondratick to remain silent. He promises to work with Michael Kennedy (the Metropolitan’s personal attorney) in the next few days to create a “statement” about the long-awaited “special review” for +Herman.
    (23) Read Rock’s email

  • Subsequently, +Herman receives a post-dated letter from Kennedy informing him that an accounting firm - selected by Kennedy “on behalf of Metropolitan Theodosius” - has completed a “review” of the discretionary accounts from 96-98. Kennedy informs +Herman that the accounts “require no modifications for them to be in accordance with accepted accounting principles”. No mention is made of donors, beneficiaries, expenses, or amounts that may be involved.
    (24) Read Kennedy’s Letter

  • On March 9, 2000, following +Herman’s instructions, Taylor submits the ‘97 &’98 audits with the proviso that “ ...our audit was limited to the Accounts of the Treasurer and do not cover all the accounts of the Church itself.” Taylor’s firm is subsequently dismissed.
    (25) Read Taylors’ Letter

  • On March 29, 2000, the long-awaited ‘97 &’98 audits of the OCA are released – with only 2 of the 3 necessary signatures. When former chairman Kozey refuses to sign the audit, the current Chairman (Archpriest Paul Suda) is later quoted in Orthodox News (5.10.00) that: “Two out of three ain’t bad.”
    (26) Read the Auditor’s Report

  • On April 12, 2000, Orthodox News reveals more than $3 million in unreported funds have now been traced as having gone into a secret discretionary account controlled by +Theodosius between 1992-1999.
    (27) Read the Orthodox News Story

  • On April 17, 2000, the Metropolitan Council hears from +Theodosius that with the completed audits and Kennedy’s “review”, the issue “has been brought to a close”.
    (28) Read Metropolitan Theodosius’s Report to the Metropolitan Council

  • On May 5, 2000, Kozey replies to the Audit Committee, outlining the crisis and the dangers facing the church if the scandal is not dealt with properly. However, with all the major figures dismissed, vocal members of the Metropolitan Council silenced and with the failure of the OCA hierarchy, Metropolitan Council, clergy or laity to demand action, the scandal begins to fade...
    (29) Read Kozey’s letter

  • In 2002, Metropolitan Theodosius retires and is replaced by +Herman. Kondratick is reappointed as Chancellor.

  • In June 2005, the Midwest Diocese adopts a resolution opposing any increase in the OCA assessment at the forthcoming All American Council (AAC) in Toronto until the integrity of the finances of the OCA can be assured. The Diocese asks for a full accounting at the AAC.
    (30) Read the Midwest Resolution (coming soon)

  • In a letter dated June 29, 2005, from Kondratick, the Midwest Diocese’s request for a full accounting of the OCA finances at the 2005 All American Council in Toronto is denied.
    (31) Read Syosset’s reply

  • On July 6, 2005, Archbishop Job sends Kondratick’s reply to all his priests with a pointed cover letter.
    (32) Read +Job’s letter

  • Shortly before, and immediately after the AAC in Toronto (July 17-22 2005) Wheeler speaks with +Job.

  • On October 17, 2005, Wheeler writes privately to +Herman and the Holy Synod of massive financial irregularities during his time at Syosset (1988-1999) in hopes that action will be taken at the Synod’s Fall Meeting. Wheeler makes several new allegations, including misuse of charitable and appeal funds, bequests and other funds by Kondratick, among others. He encourages the Metropolitan to “clean house”.
    (33) Read Wheeler’s letter(Excerpts) and
    (34) Wheeler’s "Call to Accountability

  • On November 1, 2005, having received no response from +Herman, Wheeler breaks his long public silence on the scandal. Wheeler writes a second letter to +Herman and copies this letter, together with his previous letter, to the Metropolitan Council.
    (36) Read Wheeler’s second letter

  • Within 14 hours, on November 2, 2005, major excerpts of Wheeler’s letters are made public on the internet. The scandal erupts anew.
    (37) Read the story
  • On November 9, 2005, at the meeting of the Metropolitan Council, +Herman announces an audit of the last two years (2004 & 2005) and agrees to institute “Best Practices” for non-profits beginning in 2006. He continues to refuse an audit of the other years in question (1992-2003).
    (35) Read +Herman’s decision
  • In November 2005, priests who speak out on the scandal - even on private internet lists - are threatened by +Herman with suspension if they continue. Nevertheless, increasing numbers of clergy and laity continue to call for action. A posting by Fr. Jason Kappanadze received an especially strong reaction - pro and con.
    (38) Read Fr. Jason Kappanadze’s posting of November 21; and (38.5) notice to desist.
    (39) Read the article “Moves & Countermoves”
  • In middle November - early December 2005, Archbishop Job begins meetings in every deanery in the Midwest with all local OCA clergy “to apologize on behalf of the Church” for letting his priests down in regards to the ongoing financial scandal. He openly discusses the “crisis” concerning the financial practices of the OCA.
    (40) Read the Minutes of the Columbus Deanery Meeting (Excerpts)
  • On December 17, 2005, +Job’s letter to Metropolitan Herman of November 28 is published on the internet. In the letter the Archbishop explicitly calls for an audit and for accountability. That same day, a second letter to Herman from Fr. Dmitry Grigorieff, former Dean of the OCA’s National Cathedral, one of the oldest and most respected priests in the OCA, dated November 27, is posted calling for the same.
    (41) Read +Job’s letter.
    (42) Read Fr. Grigorieff’s letter
  • On December 20, 2005, through an email from his Chancellor to his diocesan clergy, Archpriest John Zdinak, +Job announces that +Herman has agreed to place the issue on the agenda of the Lesser Synod meeting in January, and that +Herman has asked him to refrain from further comment on the scandal until that time. +Job asks his clergy to refrain from commenting or posting on the clergy list until after the meeting as well. He emphasizes this is not “a gag order” but “a request to assist ( +Job) in facilitating a responsible action of the Synod of Bishops.”
    (42) Read +Job’s request.
  • On January 7, 2006 OCANews.org goes online as a news and documentary resource concerning the scandal, and as a forum for Orthodox Christians concerned about the Orthodox Church In America’s ongoing lack of financial accountability.
  • For events beyond January 7, 2006, please see “The Latest News”.

 

 
 

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