9.10.07 New RevelationS About Scandal
Not "Hundreds of Thousands",
But "Millions" Missing
A recent exchange between Dr. Faith Skordinski and Fr. Andrew Jarmus reveals that the former Chancellor, Robert Kondratick misused not hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to the OCA as had been previously reported, but millions. Skordinski, a member of the Metropolitan Council, a member of the Special Commission and the Accuser in the recent Kondratick trial emailed Fr. Jarmus, the new Director of Ministries and Communications for the OCA, to correct information attributed to Fr. Jarmus that appeared in an AP story carried in the Washington Post on August 30, 2007. (Read that story here) Skordinski writes:
"Dear Father Andrew:
I am following up on my phone calls to you late last week, during which I was seeking an explanation of the grossly inaccurate information released to the Associated Press (AP). You stated to me then that you were currently in a conference discussing how to publicly correct the misstatements. You also stated to me then that you were misquoted and never stated that Kondratick was "solely" responsible and furthermore that you had "no clue where the numbers came from." I expected to hear back from you after you concluded that meeting. Several days have passed, the AP wire has been translated and printed in other foreign languages throughout the world, and the OCA has yet to act to correct these false statements. I would appreciate your sharing what steps you have taken to correct these inaccuracies.
To ensure we are on the same page, I will share the errors of which I am aware:
'The issue became public last year after a former OCA treasurer alleged widespread financial misconduct involving millions of dollars. The treasurer had said Metropolitan Theodosius, the retired head of the church, was involved. But a church investigation concluded that Kondratick was solely responsible, said the Rev. Andrew Jarmus, an OCA spokesman.'
The special investigative committee never made this conclusion, nor did the spiritual court empanelled to hear and decide the accusations against Robert Kondratick.
'Among the problems auditors discovered:
- Hundreds of thousands of dollars in charges were made to church and employee credit cards that had been submitted for reimbursement, but no original reciepts or documentation had been provided for most of the expenses.'
The amount is not hundreds of thousands of dollars; rather, the attorneys at Proskaeur Rose reported that between 1999 and 2005, the OCA paid approximately two MILLION dollars in Kondratick family members credit card charges, and the majority of the charges lacked any documentation or original receipts to support the purchases by the OCA.
'- The chancellor had taken nearly $10,000 in cash from church accounts, partly to pay unauthorized year-end employee bonuses. Auditors found no proof that the employees received the money.'
The special investigative committee reported that our accountants and attorneys determined that between 2001 through 2005, the former chancellor had taken over $1 million dollars in cash from the OCA's operating checking account with no documentation. The special investigative committee in its report did not specifically mention year-end employee bonuses.
'- The church had loaned money to employees, in some cases interest-free, and some of the loans weren't repaid.'
The special investigative committee in its report did not mention interest-free loans.
'- Cash was being stored in unlocked drawers or cabinets.'
The special investigative committee in its report did not mention cash being stored in unlocked drawers or cabinets.
'Jarmus said Tuesday that he didn't know whether a criminal investigation was under way. He said the IRS hasn't contacted the church about its nonprofit status.'
During the December 2006 MC meeting, Proskauer Rose told the MC members about the FBI investigation and that a subpoena had been served on the OCA.
Father Andrew, as our OCA's communications specialist, I know you understand that the Associated Press translates their reports into languages around the world. The OCA simply cannot have misstatements out there further tarnishing our Church and placing the OCA into even greater legal jeopardy than we already are. I would appreciate your sharing with me today the concrete steps you have taken the correct these gross misstatements that appeared in the AP news article.
Thank you, Father Andrew.
News To All
Much of the abuses Dr. Skordinski cites were known: mention of unauthorized employee 'bonuses', interest free and open-ended loans, cash left in unlocked drawers, etc., were all contained in the August 15th posting on the OCA website entitled: "Updated response to the September 27, 2006 letter addressed to the OCA Audit Committee ..." (Read that story here)
It was, rather, Dr. Skordinski's references to the amounts of money involved that caught the rest of the Metropolitan Council by surprise. Dr. Skordinski states: .."the attorneys at Proskauer Rose reported that between 1999 and 2005, the OCA paid approximately two MILLION dollars in Kondratick family members credit card charges..", and "The special investigative committee reported that our accountants and attorneys determined that between 2001 through 2005, the former chancellor had taken over $1 million dollars in cash from the OCAs operating checking account with no documentation." According to several Council members, all of whom read the preliminary Report of the Special Commission, and all of whom heard Proskauer Rose's oral report to the Council, the million dollar figures Dr. Skordinski cites were never mentioned, either in the written preliminary Report they were provided, or in Proskauer Roses' oral presentation. Members of the Special Commission, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the million dollar figures are not in the preliminary Report.
The Midwest Is Not The Only One Withholding
If the figure of three million in misused OCA funds Dr. Skordinski cites (which does not include the $4.75 million in missing ADM monies) came from Proskauer Rose, as Dr. Skordinski claims, it could only have come from evidence Proskauer Rose possesses, but did not share with the Special Commission. These figures could only have come from evidence withheld by Proskauer Rose from the Special Commission as a whole, but subsequently provided with the approval of the Metropolitan to the prosecution in the Kondratick trial.
When contacted by OCANews.org about the discrepancy, Dr. Skordinski did not deny the figures, nor seek to correct them, but declined comment. In response to a question about her work as the Accuser, Dr. Skordinski also declined comment, stating: "I am bound to follow the terms of the court's nondisclosure agreement."
A Troubling Revelation
While the amounts involved in the ongoing OCA financial scandal are now stated to be much larger than first reported, and concrete credible evidence now exists that the Metropolitan, through Proskauer Rose, is withholding evidence relating to the scandal even from the Special Commission, the exchange between Dr. Skordinski and Fr. Jarmus reveals an equally troubling point. Fr. Jarmus declined to respond to Dr. Skordinski. His excuse, in his terse reply, was that he reports to the Metropolitan and "not to the Metropolitan Council."
The administration may have been “reorganized” and the personnel changed, but the attitude in Syosset apparently, remains the same: lie, stonewall and cover-up. The Kondratick administration lasted 20 years
doing the same - but it ended ignobly in deposition. This one has only a year, at best, until the next All-American Council, to do the right things and cleanse the OCA. Should it fail, most likely the OCA as a
viable path for Orthodoxy in America will as well.
God will forgive sin, but He will not bless lies, cover-ups and hypocrisy. The judgment is His: the choice is ours. And the clock is ticking down to Pittsburgh.
- Mark Stokoe