Saturday, March 18, 2006

Internal Investigation of Possible Financial Fraud at the Orthodox Church

One becomes inured to reading about corporations hiring law firms and forensic accountants to help determine the scope of a potential fraud, with senior executives being relieved of their duties pending the outcome of the internal investigation.  It is quite disheartening when the press release is issued by a church,  however, because the harm from financial misconduct can have such a significant effect on church members and the clergy, who often must make do with very limited resources.  The Orthodox Church in American (OCA) issued a press release (here) on March 16 stating:

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman announced that as the Primate of the Church, he has retained the law firm of Proskauer Rose LLP to undertake an internal investigation of allegations relating to the finances of the Church.  He also announced that the accounting firm of Lambrides, Lamos, Moulthrop, LLP, presently engaged to conduct an Independent Audit of all Church financial accounts for the years 2004 and 2005, has been engaged further to examine the disposition of monies collected through OCA appeals from 2001 through 2005.  Metropolitan Herman also announced that he will authorize any additional engagements with the accounting firm as requested by the attorneys conducting the internal investigation.  He also announced that Protopresbyter Robert S.Kondratick has been relieved of his service as Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America.

According to the Church's website, "the Orthodox Church in America numbers some 700 parishes, missions, communities, monasteries, and institutions throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico."  Let's hope the damage is not significant. (ph)

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