For The OCA Administration
(Editor's note: In March 2008, following a meeting at St. Mark's parish in Bethesda, Maryland, Attorney Wayne Tatusko wrote a letter to Fr. Andrew Jarmus, Director of Communications for the OCA, with copies to the Chancellor and Treasurer as well, seeking answers from the OCA Administration to 16 questions regarding the OCA scandal. Two months later his questions remained unanswered.)
March 29, 2008
Dear Father Andrew:
Christ is in our midst! He is and always shall be!
It was a personal pleasure meeting you and your family on your visit to St. Mark in February. It was also, as we discussed with you after the general session, a
“corporate” disappointment. The central reason for the disappointment was, as my wife Cathy pointed out, your equating the proper performance of your work on behalf of the central administration with continuing support of the leadership of Metropolitan Herman.
You seek support for your work in untangling the mess that you, Father Tassos and Father Garklavs found in Syosset (which you compared to untangling badly knotted fishing line), but the same fisherman is still there, further tangling the lines. As Jerry Marti stated at our meeting, sometimes you have to just “cut bait.”
There were numerous questions I had to ask you. Many of them may not have been within your particular purview. I write them here for you to consider, and for you to discuss (if you are so inclined) with Father Tassos and Father Garklavs so that you will
be able to answer them should they be raised in another setting. These questions are raised in no particular order.
1. Does Metropolitan Herman acknowledge that, when Deacon Eric Wheeler was dismissed at Treasurer in 1999, Deacon Eric told Metropolitan Herman of
significant financial improprieties? If not, would Deacon Eric be lying if he said otherwise?
2. At what point did Metropolitan Herman become aware of the separate “special accounts” set up by Robert Kondratick from 1996 to 2002? Why was
Metropolitan Herman so determined to stop any inquiry into these funds after he became Metropolitan?
3. What steps have been taken at Metropolitan Herman’s direction to re-construct the activities in these accounts? For example, has our current Treasurer contacted the ADM Foundation or Andreas Foundation to ask for a history of the donation? If not, why not?
4. Church members donated $292,000 to the 9-11 Fund. Of that, $25,000 was given by Metropolitan Herman to the Pentagon Survivors Fund in a ceremony at St. Mark Church. This was the first gift from the Fund, leaving $267,000 to be given out. Over five years later, on November 15, 2007, the OCA publicized a gift of $90,000 to another 9-11 related charity. A press release put out by your office
boasted of the donation and the plaque received. Are you not embarrassed to be boasting of this donation (like the proverbial Pharisee) when $177,000 is still
Under this Metropolitan’s administration, the initial remaining $267,000 was misapplied (one could even say stolen) to pay for trips, salaries, etc. unrelated to
9-11. A loan of nearly $1.7 million was taken out, in part, to replenish this fund. Out of that loan, $177,000 was again misapplied. How can the OCA now boast about being “in the black” when this $177,000 remains
5. We are aware that Metropolitan Herman made the decision to retain Proskauer Rose. It was Metropolitan Herman, without prior consultation of the
Metropolitan Council, who made this decision unilaterally. Indeed, Proskauer Rose would not even meet with the Metropolitan Council until the Council
insisted on several occasions that there be a meeting. Retaining this law firm cost the church in excess of $300,000. How is it that Father Garklavs can swear out an affidavit in the Kondratick legal action denying then-Metropolitan Theodosius’ authority to sign an agreement to repay the Kondraticks $250,000, when
Metropolitan Herman unilaterally obligated the OCA to over $300,000? Do you really believe this contradiction will be lost on the Kondraticks’ attorney?
6. Father Garklavs has now sworn in an affidavit, under penalties of perjury, with respect to Robert Kondratick’s theft of church assets. Why has Father Garklavs not reported this theft to the local police for prosecution?
7. One year ago, in March 2007, there was a Metropolitan Council meeting to discuss the financial improprieties. Why did Metropolitan Herman attempt to
convince the Council to do nothing? In the absence of Greg Nescott’s impassioned speech, and the statements of others, what actions would Metropolitan Herman preferred to have taken?
8. The Summary Report of the Special Investigative Committee basically restates the findings in the Lambrides, Lamos letter dated May 16, 2006. The basic
conclusion is that Robert Kondratick stole over a million dollars of church funds. Why were the authorities not immediately notified?
9. Why has the full 13 page summary of the Special Committee not been released, despite repeated assurances that it would be? The initial excuses were that the Kondratick deposition trial had not been completed, and then that the appeal was pending.
These excuses have been exhausted. You stated at our meeting that you had never read the report. Don’t you think it would be wise for the head of OCA
communications to be aware of one of the most significant OCA documents in recent memory?
10. What steps did Metropolitan Herman take as Treasurer from September 1999 to January 2001 to address the improprieties about which Deacon Eric had advised him?
11. This administration accepted $67,000 from the US Department of Defense for Bibles for Russia. The entire amount has been misapplied and remains unaccounted for. How can we claim the OCA is meeting its budget while this misapplication (or theft) remains unresolved?
12. How are the withdrawals by Robert Kondratick (in the many years in which Father Garklavs has sworn money was stolen) set forth on the OCA books? Are
they shown as expenses, and if so, for what?
13. If Kondratick’s withdrawals were not expenses – as Father Garklavs swears they were not – then were they shown as loans to Kondratick or as compensation?
If loans, why are they not shown as an asset on the current books?
14. If the withdrawals were compensation, then has Kondratick been provided with an IRS Form 1099 to show the amounts paid to him so that he would be liable for taxes? If not, why not?
15. Were you aware that, during Metropolitan Herman’s first year – calendar 2002 – the net assets of the OCA dropped by $1.7 million (coincidentally, the same amount as the later Honesdale Bank loan)? Did you know that, according to the OCA’s own records, this drop in assets occurred even though during 2002:
a. The spending for Mission and Stewardship dropped by $120,000, from $278,000 to $158,000.
b. The spending for Seminaries was ZERO, instead of the $82,500 budgeted.
c. The spending for clergy care dropped by $51,000 from $66,000 to $15,000.
d. At the same time, “total support – revenue” increased by $192,000.
Wouldn’t it be interesting for our Treasurer to look into this and find out why?
Shouldn’t Metropolitan Herman be asked why he gutted the spending in these three important categories?
16. Finally, do you believe there would have been any change had it not been for the OCAnews.org website raising these questions?
Sadly, an administration headed by Metropolitan Herman raises numerous questions of leadership, or the lack thereof. These are only the few questions I had
wanted to raise back in February at St. Mark. Others had many other questions, and there was no time for me to address these. A “leader” who only one year ago, despite all the obvious problems, sought to stop all action and maintain the status quo, cannot be
entrusted with the future of our Church. Only just this past week, Father Garklavs has felt the sting of the lack of leadership, being sent to Alaska to hear the plight of the priests and people there, only to be ignored completely by Metropolitan Herman.
Metropolitan Herman has shown that, if problems arise, he will seek to cover them up. He will not take responsibility. He will blame anyone but himself, except to express regret that he is “too trusting.” By continuing to provide unquestioning support
to this administration, you assist in bringing about the slow, but sure, death of the OCA.
As Pascha approaches, let us hope for a Resurrection within the Church itself, for a new life under new leadership. Father Andrew, you can be a vital part of this Resurrection by speaking out yourself, and by encouraging your fellow officers to do the
same. Like the brave priests and deacons in Alaska, you can come forward and demand what is right.
Wayne G. Tatusko
cc: Reverend Michael Tassos
Reverend Alexander Garklavs