GOAL - January 29, 1999



New York (January 29, 1999) - At a conference held today before federal Judge Denny Chin in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, a settlement was reached in the case brought by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese against Greek Orthodox American Leaders, Inc. (GOAL).

The archdiocese agreed to the dismissal of its claims against GOAL with prejudice (emphasis added). With prejudice is a legal term that means that the archdiocese accepted a judgment of dismissal as if they, as the original plaintiff, had lost in a fully adjudicated final action under the terms of the judge's November 24, 1998 decision permitting GOAL's continued use of the mailing list.

"Plainly and simply, the archdiocese lost their case, "stated John Nassikas III, one of GOAL's attorneys, "their claim that GOAL misappropriated the mailing list goes away forever. GOAL is completely and totally vindicated."

Judge Chin recognized GOAL's right to access archdiocesan records and books, as well as mailing lists, in his November 1998 ruling and today's settlement has no effect on that right.

The archdiocese had taken the unusual step of both appealing Judge Chin's original decision, on Christmas Eve, and asking for a dismissal of its own case on favorable terms. By the agreement reached today, the archdiocese got neither. The original decision, which was favorable to GOAL, cannot be appealed.

In the presence of lawyers for both parties and clerks for the court, Archdiocesan Council Vice President John Catsimatidis stated that he would be willing to make any records or books available to GOAL.

Mr. Catsimatidis's new offer of disclosure is in stark contrast to the archdiocese's previously held position of denying GOAL's right to access such material. GOAL had requested a specific list of items in a letter from its lawyers to the archdiocese on November 27, 1998; however, archdiocesan lawyers turned down that request several days later.

"The archdiocese wins nothing and has failed on all fronts in the strategy and execution of their lawsuit against GOAL," reiterated Mr. Nassikas, "GOAL has a green light to do what it has always done, including publishing and distributing its planned February newsletter to the members of the archdiocese without regard as to whose list is being used."

Commenting on today's outcome, Dr. Thomas C. Lelon, one of GOAL's two Executive Directors, stated, "Our Board of Directors is pleased about being so clearly vindicated, despite the cost of litigation and despite the ongoing campaign of misinformation conducted in the press by the archdiocese. The GOAL Board wholeheartedly accepts Mr. Catsimatidis's offer to provide us with the books and records we request."

Dr. Lelon went on to add, "The fact is that there is a crisis of mismanagement within our American Church. Our Metropolitans, our clergy, and our faithful are proclaiming this fact daily. Hence, GOAL will re-double its efforts to resolve the crisis. Despite the insupportable actions of Archbishop Spyridon and Patriarch Bartholomew, we, GOAL, will continue the struggle for justice in our Greek Orthodox American Church.

[ GOAL - January 29, 1999 ]