The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

CGS Redux

Fr. Matt Kennedy has posted the latest decision in the litigation between his breakaway parish and the Diocese of Central New York. In it, Judge Ferrous D. Lebous rules on the Diocese's claim to certain assets ofthe parish, and the entitlement of Christ Church, the oldest Episcopal parish in Binghamton, to a trust vested in CGS and, should it cease to exist, to Christ Church. Judge Lebous held unequivocally that "the Church of the Good Shpeherd no longer exists as an Episcopal church, no longer exists in name, no longer exists within the meaning of the Branan Trust." (Opinion at 11). A logical corollary of its prior ruling? Perhaps; Fr. Kennedy states that "I did not know Mr. Branan but a number of our senior parishioners knew him very well and remember him to have been both very conservative and very loyal to Good Shepherd but not necessarily to the Episcopal Church." Judge Lebous, however, construed the trust documents, and found them to be sufficiently clear to allow him to reach a conclusion.

The sting of this ruling, however, is in its tail:
As indicated during oral argument, this court finds some of these allegations troubling. Good Shepherd's own counsel intima[ted] that parish members may have removed personal property to displeasure at this Court's former Decision & Order. Additionally, a there is an obvious lack of income flowing into Good Shepherd after April 2008. In other words, since April 2008, Good Shepherd was meeting but no pledge or plate revenue is identified during that time. Rather, the Diocese alleges that Good Shepherd was spending down an endowment fund to pay for daily operations, and diverting income elsewhere....On its face, it appears that the parish was doing everything it could to spend down the assets, divert new income, and perhaps actively interfere with the diocese's right of ownership
Id. at 13.

The Court ordered depositions of CGS's officials, beginning with Fr. Kennedy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kennedy is a smarmy little rat...just my opinion.