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1.15.08

KONDRATICK DOCUMENTS MADE PUBLIC

For the past two years, James Silver, a self-described 'urban monk' living in New Jersey, has been a passionate defender of Robert Kondratick, claiming that the former OCA Chancellor is guilty of no wrongdoing, but that Metropolitans Herman and Theodosius, among others, are responsible. Silver, who was a member of Kondratick's defense at his deposition, has now released more than 20 documents relating to the case. Among the documents released were:

• a six-page "Confidential Memorandum" from Archbishop Nathaniel to Kondratick outlining the fourteen charges against him and the ecclesiastical canons that such actions violate;


• a ten-page "Request For an Appeal" from Kondratick to the Synod, citing reasons why the original trial was deficient and the case should be reheard; and


• multiple appendices to the "Request" including affidavits supporting Kondratick's positions from Frs. Joseph Fester and Michael Westerberg, and former Syosset staffer David Lucs, among others; letters from Kondratick's attorney and Archbishop Seraphim relating to trial matters.

Silver claims he released the documents without authorization from Kondratick, in an effort to demonstrate that the trial and subsequent deposition were both invalid. All these documents are available to members of Orthodox Forum atwww.Yahoo/OrthodoxForum.

In addition to the above, Silver also re-posted a number of documents that had already been made public, including two reports from two former Special Commission members ( Frs. Berzonsky and Reeves), the Kondratick Promissory Note, and the 1999 Andreas letter.

The Confidential Memorandum

and the Summary Report

The "Confidential Memorandum" from Archbishop Nathaniel to Robert Kondratick lists "the charges and the canonical nature thereof" against the former Chancellor. The memo dated October 4th, 2007, begins:

"The Accusations made against you by Dr. Skordinski in the attachment to the Summons dated May 15,
2007, have been reproduced herein and the corresponding canonical charge(s) are identified immediately thereafter."

A comparison between the recently released "SUMMARY REPORT of the preliminary report of the first Special Investigative Committee and the proceedings of the Spiritual Court for Robert Kondratick" and the charges contained in the "Confidential Memorandum" reveals most, but not all, of the fourteen charges in the Memorandum were made public in the Summary Report. There are, however, some significant differences between the two.

Rounding Numbers

One example is the rounding of numbers that took place in the Summary. The public Summary reads:

"Between 2001 through 2005, over $1,000,000.00 was withdrawn in cash from the operating checking account of the OCA and given directly to Robert Kondratick. The OCA records lack any supporting documentation to indicate how the cash was spent and for what purposes."

The Confidential Memorandum's numbers are specific:

"Between 2001 through 2005, $1,019,071.35 was withdrawn in cash from the OCA's operating accounts at Father Kondratick's request and given directly to him. Church records lack any supporting documentation to indicate how the cash was spent and for what purpose(s). "

Omitting Numbers

A minor difference, but rounding numbers then gave way to just omitting all numbers as the charges progressed. The Summary stated:

"Credit card charges for which the OCA paid Robert Kondratick include personal travel to and lodging expenses for places including Aruba and Las Vegas, tanning and hair salon charges, jewelry store purchases, and his family members' ordinary monthly living expenses such as groceries, wine, newspaper and magazine subscriptions, cable bills, clothes, and shoes."

The Memorandum reveals:

"a. Credit card charges for which the OCA paid Father Kondratick include personal travel to and lodging expenses for places including Aruba and Las Vegas, and his family members' ordinary monthly living expenses such as groceries, wine, newspaper and magazine subscriptions, cable bills, clothes, and shoes.

b. Other Kondratick family credit card charges for which the OCA paid included: tanning salons; a $700
hair salon charge; and a $3,000 purchase by Father Kondratick's son at a jewelry store."

Minimizing the Damage

Omitting embarrassing financial details, though, eventually gave way to an out-and-out misrepresentation of the numbers involved. For example, the Summary reported charge #3 as follows:

"From 1999 through 2005, the OCA paid not less than $1.2 million in Kondratick family membersÕ credit card charges, which covered no less than 22 credit cards. The majority of the credit card charges lack any documentation or original receipts to support the purchases by the OCA. To date, Robert Kondratick has
failed to provide the OCA with receipts of any kind to support the expenditures of more than $1,100,000." (1)

The footnote should not be overlooked. It reads: "(1) These figures were amended during the spiritual court trial of Robert Kondratick and reflect the latest ascertainable information from the Lambrides accountants."

The Memorandum makes clear how those figures supplied by Proskauer Rose for the Special Commission's Preliminary Report (finished in March 2007) cited in the Summary, had been amended by the accountants by June 2007. By then, the amount charged to the Church by the Kondratick's had doubled. The Memorandum reads:

"From 1999 through 2005, the OCA paid approximately $2 million in Kondratick family members' credit card charges, which covered 20 personal credit cards and two corporate credit cards. The majority of the credit cards charges lacked any documentation or original receipts to support the purchases by the OCA."

If Syosset knew in June 2007 the amount was $2 million, not $1.2 million, and the Summary report was released only in December 2007, why was this figure not corrected in seven months? Why was the number purposely minimized? If the Summary was to reassure the faithful the truth has been told and the problem had been solved, falsifying numbers to minimize the damage done is not the way to accomplish that goal.

Omitting Names

But numbers are not the only thing omitted from the Summary, as revealed by the Memorandum. Names are omitted. In the Summary it is stated:

"An audit of the check and wire disbursement from the special appeals funds, from 2001 through 2005,
shows American Express charges of some $5,600.00 for a member of the Kondratick family, designated
by Robert Kondratick as a charitable distribution."

The Memorandum cites the name. It reads:

"An audit of the check and wire disbursements from the special appeals funds, from 2001 through 2005, shows American Express charges of $5,608.36 for Fr. Kondratick's son, Robert, designated by Fr. Kondratick as a charitable distribution."

Omitting Charges

The new documents make clear that charges laid out in the Memorandum were omitted from the Summary.

The Summary states:

"In December 2004, Robert Kondratick used for travel expenses in Russia $12,000 that was raised and intended for the Christmas Stocking Project."

The Memo lists two examples of this, in different years:

"5. In December 2003, Father Kondratick used for travel expenses in Russia $12,120 that was raised and intended for the Christmas Stocking Project.

6. In December 2004, Father Kondratick used for travel expenses in Russia $12,000 that was raised and intended for the Christmas Stocking Project."

Once again, one has to ask: why could the whole truth not be admitted and told? Is one theft of Christmas Stocking funds by the Chancellor of the Church less horrific than two? Why continue to minimize the damage, which upon revelation of the deception, only makes the situation worse?

But these were not the only charges omitted from the public Summary. The Memorandum lists three others of significance:

"7. In or around December 2004, a videotaped meeting between Father Kondratick and Father Zacchaeus shows a scheme by Fr. Kondratick to misappropriate half of the $85,000 that was raised for the Beslan charity appeal money sent to Saint Catherine's in November 2004."

This is a reference to the infamous Moscow Tape - which Kondratick defenders first claimed was illegally made and thus inadmissible, and now claim was 'edited' and 'doctored' to misrepresent the 'full' conversation. No matter what the Kondratick defenders claim, it is clear by the omission of these charges from the public record, that the Metropolitan did not want this episode disclosed because of the serious questions it raises.

Specifically, even Syosset now admits that the Moscow tape reveals a scheme to defraud the Church on the part of the Chancellor. The Metropolitan knew of the tape no later than Spring 2005, as he has admitted to the Metropolitan Council. So why did he not immediately act on it?Why did he not dismiss Kondratick then and there - or at least launch an investigation? Why did he not turn it over to the civil authorities? Why did he not advise the Synod or the Church at large? The tape and the resulting charge presented to the spiritual court are damning evidence of the Matropolitan's willing complicity in an attempt not to uncover and stop the scandalous diversion of monies, but rather to bury it, to cover it up, thus aiding and abetting the continued misuse of funds.

Other Missing Charges

Kondratick is also charged with suing the Church under false pretenses. The Memorandum reads:

"In September 2006, Father Kondratick and his wife initiated a lawsuit against the OCA and
other individuals, alleging that they were owed $250,000, plus interest, for renovations allegedly
costing $110,000 they made to a house deeded to the OCA, but in which they lived while receiving a
housing allowance."

In his defense documents, Kondratick admits suing the Church was a mistake, and asks for mercy. Yet, following the confirmation of his deposition, the Kondratick's have now re-initiated that lawsuit. The case is currently under litigation.

The ADM Money

But of the four charges that failed to be revealed, or fully revealed, in the Summary, the most explosive concerns the ADM monies given to the OCA from 1992-1999. The Summary expressly states that Metropolitan Theodosius and Kondratick controlled, individually or jointly, three bank accounts of which only one - the Metropolitan's discretionary account - was known to the OCA during this period. The Memorandum is much clearer:

"From 1992 through 1999, at least $3.5 million was donated to the OCA for Saint Catherine's and the Russian Orthodox Church.

a. Only $1.4 million was deposited into the OCA's general operating account.
b. The remaining $2.1 million appears to have been deposited into the discretionary accounts controlled by Metropolitan Theodosius and Father Kondratick.
c. Of the $1.4 million deposited into the Church's operating accounts, the OCA has valid supporting documentation of only approximately $217,000."

This is the first time Syosset has ever spoken of these grants by name, or admitted a total of any kind. By so doing, Syosset has finally admitted that in addition to the $2+ million in Church funds used by the Kondratick family, Kondratick (and Metropolitan Theodosius) also owe the Church an explanation of what happened to an additional $3+ million of Church funds given by ADM that just happened to disappear as well.

- Mark Stokoe
____________________________________________________________________________

Coming Friday:
What the Affidavits Reveal

 

 
 

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