Former Chancellor, Wife Sue OCA
Just days after being released from the omophorion of Metropolitan Herman, Fr. Robert Kondratick, the former Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, filed suit against the OCA in New York State Court. Together with his wife, Elizabeth, Fr. Kondratick is seeking payment on a$250,000 Promissory Note, plus interest, signed by former Metropolitan Theodosius and members of the OCA's Administrative Committee in April, 2002 (Read the story and text of the Note here).
The actual complaint (Index #016178/06) states:
Elizabeth Kondratick, being duly sworn, deposes and says:
1. I am one of the plaintiffs, and the wife of the other plaintiff, and make this affidavit in support of the motion based upon personal knowledge and the Promissory Note (Exhibit #1)
2. This suit is very distasteful to my husband and me, but our church official's repeated repeated breaches of their word have unfortunately left us with no alternative. Payment has been repeatedly assured, but not forthcoming.
3. In the order of their listing, the defendants are respectively the church itself, the Orthodox Church in America (hereinafter referred to as the OCA and formerly known as the Russian Orthodox Church), the head of our church (Swaiko) and the members of the OCA's Administrative Committee.
4. The note was signed by the defendants to repay my husband and me for improvements made to the house in which we were living, which was and is owned by the OCA: 216 Martin Drive, Syosset, New York.
5. This action is based on an instrument for the payment of money only, to wit: a $250,000 note dated April 19, 2002 ( Exhibit #1)
6. Pursuant to the terms of the note, the principal sum was to be paid in three equal installments of $83,333.33 in the 'first week of September 2002, 2003, and 2004'. (Exhibit #1 last 2 lines)
7. Demands for payment have been repeatedly made.
8. No payments have been received.
9. Although the note specifies no interest was to be paid, that applied to the payments if they were made and if they were made on time. Mr. Kutner has advised us that the Law specifies that even when the note states that it is non-interest bearing, that if the maker defaults, it must pay 9% statutory interest from the payment's due dates. Therefore, interest is sought as follows:
a. 9% on $83,333.33 from September 7* 2002 ( *the 7th is chosen to accord the defendants the benefit of the interpretation of the 'first week of September'); and
b. 9% on $83,333.33 from September 7, 2003; and
c. 9% on $83, 333.33 from September 7, 2004.
10. The court is respectfully requested to enter judgment in the sum of $240,000 plus interest as specified in the notice of motion and hereinabove.
WHEREFORE, judgement is demanded to be entered against the defendants for the relief sought in the notice of motion, together with an such other and further relief which is just, equitable and proper.
Sworn before me this 27th day of September, 2006
Harry H. Kutner, Jr.
The Kondratick suit raises literally scores of questions: what happens when a priest sues his bishop, or in this case, his metropolitan? Is the note even valid given that the repairs were never authorized by the Metropolitan Council, nor was the note itself? Can a few members of the Council, all hand-picked by Father Kondratick- indebt the whole Church? And assuming the note was valid, why was it not paid in a timely fashion? Fr. Kondratick himself helped prepare and oversaw the budgets every year. Why was the repayment not carried out in 2002, 2003 or 2004 as planned? If not then, why not in 2005 or 2006, when he was still chancellor? There was money then. In 2004 Metropolitan Herman took out a $500,000 loan - also without the consent of the Council - so why was not this money used to pay off the note, assuming, it is valid? And why did the Kondraticks wait so long (seven months) to file the suit, coincidently just as they are reassigned out of the Diocese of Washington and New York and finally leaving the Martin Drive residence?
There seem only to be questions at this point. A response to the summons must be made no later than October 26th, 2006. This gives the current Administration two weeks to consult the Metropolitan Council (which is obliged by Statute to defend the Church in all legal matters), engage counsel, and respond. Perhaps by then some answers may be forthcoming.