March 15, 2006
Via Facsimile and Hand Delivered
Personal and Confidential
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman
Orthodox Church in America
St Tikhon’s Road
South Canaan, PA 18459
RE: Current situation
Our file #196-4060
Your Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman:
Please be advised that I am the attorney for the Chancellor, the Very Rev. Robert S. Kondratick, and write to address the current situation. I have been retained due to the possibility of litigation.
Your declaration this morning that you will fire Fr. Kondratick unless he resigns is improperly coercive and unauthorized. Since the Holy Synod with the concurrence of the Metropolitan Council appointed Fr. Kondratick as Chancellor, even though Church law is silent, it may be deduced that only they have the authority to remove and then only for cause.
The most recent developments indicate that you have decided to make Fr. Kondratick a scapegoat. You are assured that that will not be permitted to occur without an immediate lawsuit seeking many millions in damages for loss of employment, defamation, and breach of contract, and emotional distress, filed simultaneously with a widely-disseminated press release commenting upon your failures of leadership and own involvement in the issues.
The Administrative Committee meeting you scheduled for tomorrow, March 16th is problematic before it begins. If you proceed as you have stated you will, then it is likely that litigation will result. Fr. Kondratick is an ex officio member of the Committee, and as such cannot be excluded from its meeting by your arbitrary direction. He will attend, and to assure the accuracy of any later reporting of the discussion, upon my advice will tape record the meeting.
I have further advised Fr. Kondratick at the Thursday meeting to raise the issue of your non-handling of the crisis, particularly the way you have allowed a minutely-small section of the Church to savage him and the Holy Synod, and create this crisis. The leadership’s institutional paralysis has seriously if not mortally wounded the Church, all due to your conspiratorial agenda. No other conclusion is possible.
First, as to the accusations each of the alleged improprieties, are not improprieties - there is no truth to them. For example, the Archer Daniels Midland bequests were not nefariously diverted at all. For example, Fr. Kondratick’s house was not purchased in some dead -of-night transaction, and then clandestinely deeded to him and his wife. For example, all of his credit card expenditures paid by OCA (sic), were for OCA expenses. For example, all of the “911” Fund disbursements went to the needy, with funds still in the account.
And yet, the malefactors continue their campaign, taking advantage of your inaction and ordered-silence to make it appear wrongdoing has occurred. And, rather than take the righteous, courageous and just course of supporting your Chancellor against the accusers, you have remained silent, not only allowing him to twist in the wind, but compounding your inaction by a directive that he not respond. Your inaction coupled with your directive, makes the conclusion inescapable that you are supporting the attacks.
It is apparent that the situation is fueled by a small, loose-knit group of personally motivated individuals, succumbing to many of the seven deadly sins but mostly envy-jealousy, and anger-revenge. The triumvirate of Wheeler-Stokoe-Nescott, supported by Archbishop Job, first instigated and has since fueled the controversy.
Wheeler’s motives are easily discerned as his own statements reveal his vengeful pique at my client. His pre-termination personal problems and then-erratic behavior are ignored by him as reasons for non-continuation of his employment, as he succumbs to the typical human reaction of “blame everyone else but oneself”. Fr. Kondratick is the focus of his bitterness and target for the blame and revenge, even though the decision to end his services was made by Metropolitan Theodosius upon your recommendation and support. My client did not have such authority.
Stokoe’s participation is accessorial in his providing the Orthodox Christians for Accountability (“OCFA”) website and then making it only available to the malcontents. OCFA makes it appear that the malcontents enjoy overwhelming support since it publishes material exclusively critical of the Church and Fr. Kondratick. Remember the modern version of Goebbel’s “Big Lie” technique, in the E-mail age, observes that “ a lie will be around the world many time while the truth is still lacing up its boots.” Accusations of malfeasance by those in power are always sensational, newsworthy, and gobbled up greedily by the power-jealous masses.
Nescott’s role must also be addressed. On first blush, it erroneously appears to be motivated only by a disinterested prosecutor’s objective professional analysis, and is thus quite harmful to the Church. But taken in the context of his own family’s history, it becomes readily apparent to have been an opportunistic exercise of revenge.
Archbishop Job’s involvement is peculiarly devious because as an Archbishop he speak from a position of authority in the Church , and also preliminarily appears to be altruistically-motivated, and as such his personal vendetta is not readily apparent. But he is driven by the same deadly vices in his ambition for power and envy of those who have it, and is additionally vindictive for Fr. Kondratick’s actions towards his very close personal friend, Fr. Zacchaeus. While the Archbishop has not made allegations of financial irregularities by my client, he has camouflaged his attacks by coyly worded questions, cunningly seeming to seek the truth when in reality they are character assassination by innuendo and omissive lies.
I have observed to Fr. Kondratick that you appear to be involved in the conspiracy, albeit passively akin to Pontius Pilate: you personally do not attack Fr. Kondratick, but you allow others to do your dirty work for you. Such passivity is short-sightedly foolish because when the faithful are reminded that it was you who was the moving force in removing Wheeler, and it is proven that Fr. Kondratick did nothing wrong but you allowed the attacks to take place, you will be forced to resign.
Thus, in this situation, the question must be posed as to what to do to save the Church. To do so, only immediate definitive action will stop the perception of paralysis-caused-by-culpability, and restore order. Without same, your remaining authority will fully erode, and the Church be mortally wounded.
Thus, it is recommended that the following action be taken, but it cannot be perceived as a cover-up or stonewalling, but an honest and prayerfully-considered solution:
1. an immediate announcement that you thank and appreciate the concerns of the laity and clergy, and have delayed in responding not from any fear nor desire to cover-up wrongdoing, but out of the need to consider many points of view, including the Holy Synod, and to pray over it before deciding on a course of action:
that it was obvious that any jump to immediate action would serve only the agenda of a few accusers, and if they truly were malicious in their motives and their accusations baseless, such precipitous action would needlessly harm good people, a result that would be absolutely un-Christ-like;
thus you should announced that an audit has already been underway, and its findings will be released when completed;
2. next, you should strongly re-affirm your abiding and overwhelming faith and confidence in the Chancellor, Fr. Kondratick with whom you have worked for decades, and whom you recommended to be appointed to his post as Chancellor, and thus consider any criticism of him to be criticism of you and the Church;
3. as part of the announcement, you should issue a condemnation of the uncharitable, caluminous and non-Christ-like behavior of many Church officials and laity, for their despicable mindset ready and eager-to-believe the accusations, thereby injuring the reputation of Fr. Kondratick, a Church official who has labored long and loyally, without blemish, on the Church’s behalf, and who enjoys your personal support, especially and reemphasizing that support since it was you recommended him to be appointed Chancellor;
4. announcement of the reasons Wheeler was not continued by your precedessor, at your suggestion, and with your support, as an explanation for his obsessive smear campaign (since he has gone public with his accusations, his history and therefore motives may appropriately be addressed):
again, your declaration of your own part in his termination will enhance your image;
5. a final statement that when the results of the audit are received, they will be fully evaluated and any person, not matter who, having been guilty of any wrongdoing, financial or otherwise in derogation of Church order, will be appropriately dealt with;
this portion should end with a statement that God’s work on earth, through His instrument, the Church, must be kept first and foremost in every member’s consciousness, and it too important to be misdirected by the revenge-driven agenda of a few individuals.
But the announcement must be made, immediately!
You have commanded that Fr. Kondratick not respond to the character-assassinatory accusations, and he has dutifully obeyed. But I have urged him to consider that your directive has put him in an ever-worsening position which will assuredly lead to his professional destruction if it is not immediately stopped. From your refusal to defend him coupled with your edict not to respond, one can only conclude that Your Beatitude conspires for his destruction and is allowing it to happen in order to passively get rid of him.
Fr. Kondratick has done nothing wrong, and in my view is the target of vindictive and opportunistic individuals. At this point, since his professional career is being allowed by you to be destroyed, he has no choice but to act in no-holds-barred acts of self preservation, using any legitimate means possible. Instead of strengthening the Church and consolidating your power, his reaction will be deleterious.
Thus, once again, immediate definitive action is required. No further delay can be absorbed by the Church, nor will be accepted by Fr. Kondratick.
Very truly yours,
Harry H. Kutner, Jr.
cc: Very Rev. Robert Kondratick