OCA Assumes $1.7 Million Debt
Via Two hour Metropolitan Council Conference Call
In what Syosset is calling an "extraordinary meeting", but in reality was a conference call, the Metropolitan Council of the OCA voted 13 to 8 (with absentions) to assume a commercial bank loan for $1.7 million. The two hour call and vote took place on the evening of Thursday, May 18th.
On Friday morning, May 19th, the following press release was published on the OCA website:
Metropolitan Council holds extraordinary meeting
SYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications] The Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America, under the chairmanship of the Primate, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, met in extraordinary session on May 18, 2006, and voted to accept a loan proposal contained in a commitment letter from The Honesdale National Bank, Honesdale, PA.
When finalized, the loan in the amount of $1,700,000 will be used to consolidate existing external and internal debts of the Church.
After a motion to postpone action was defeated, a motion to accept the terms contained in the commitment letter was approved.
It is anticipated that the closing on the loan will take place on or before July 3, 2006.
At the conclusion of the nearly two hour teleconference, Metropolitan Herman thanked those who participated
and those unable to participate who submitted their proxy vote concerning the loan, for their love of Christ and their devotion to the mission of His Church. The Metropolitan emphasized that these are difficult and painful days in the history of our young, autocephalous Church in America . He challenged the members of the
Metropolitan Council to join him in refocusing our energy and resources on the Church's primary task of
witnessing to and generously sharing our Orthodox Christian Faith with all people in North America .
"We can anticipate that we will continue to face more dark and stormy clouds," stated Metropolitan Herman,
but because of God's mercy and love for us, we will emerge to see the light that He will provide to illumine our way."
Those voting against the loan were delegates from the Albanian Archdiocese, the Diocese of New England, the Diocese of the West and the Diocese of Alaska. The terms of the commercial loan are reported to be at 8% per annum for twenty years.
The monies will be used, in part to repay the following sums taken from temporarily restricted accounts
(Charity, Mission and Special Appeals) since 2001. These include, but are not limited to:
$36, 640 taken from the Beslan Childrens Fund
$10,000 taken from the Alaska Medical Fund
$3,000 taken from the Alaska Parishes Fund
$87,560 taken from the Mission Appeal
$41,750 taken from the Charity Appeal
$16,600 taken from the Annual Christmas Stocking Appeal
$90,590 taken from the 9/11 Fund
$3,300 taken from the IOCC Fund
$13,920 taken from Florida Hurricane Relief Fund
$25,000 from the Russian Orphan's Fund
An additional $42,000 was taken from the FOS Endowment Fund with $151,940 taken from other restricted funds.
In addition, the loan will be used to repay outstanding operating bills of $287,800 still owed to vendors;
to repay $500,000 from an already used line of credit, and it was announced that $111,500 would be used to repay Fr. Kondratick for the remodeling done on the church-owned property on Martin Drive in Syosset.
It was not disclosed how the Church intends to repay this new, larger loan; or what collateral, if any, was used to secure the loan. It was not explained why the new loan had to be agreed to before the results of the 2004-2005 audits were released; or in advance of the
results of the Proskauer Rose investigation into the allegations of decades-long financial mismanagement at
Syosset, are released to the Holy Synod next week. Neither the audit findings nor the investigative report were released to the Metropolitan Council before
they voted. One can only speculate that it is these results that are the "dark and stormy clouds" to which the Metropolitan refers, and which the OCA as a whole must "continue to anticipate".