Orthodox Christian Laity - April 30, 2003

On "Honoring" Former Archbishop Spyridon

By Paul Cromidas

After the recent media event in New York honoring former Archbishop Spyridon of the Greek Archdiocese of America, his admirers may want to step back and review a certain document.

That document is the February 1999 Affidavit of Jerry Dimitriou, after his resignation as "Director of Finance and Administration (Chief Financial Officer)" of the Archdiocese. (He was re-hired after Archbishop Demetrios was appointed, and is now Executive Director of Administration).

Here are some excerpts from the affidavit:

"...I resigned from the Archdiocese effective February 13, 1998 following a steady erosion of my access to the basic financial information necessary to carry out my duties and responsibilities as Director of Finance. I also resigned because of the continuing pressure of the Archbishop and the Chancellor to by pass the new financial procedures instituted in the wake of the 1992 Dimas Proceeding, and to condone improper practices, as more fully set forth below... In this respect, the Archbishop told me on a number of occasions that he resented the fact that the law required the laity to oversee the finances of the Archdiocese.

"...Within two weeks of my resignation the Archbishop and the Chancellor...took a number of steps to abrogate the controls put in place...and to replace them with systems which were intended to strip the Executive Committee of its authority over bank accounts and to keep the....Committee in the dark as the Archbishop and the Chancellor proceeded to run the Archdiocese as if it were their piggybank...

"...Payroll payments...were handled through ADP...with direct deposit...The Archbishop directed that he and the Chancellor were to be paid wholly or partially outside the ADP system...

"...A few weeks after my departure all accounts were improperly placed under different signature authority. The signatories on all accounts were the Archbishop, Chancellor and General Counsel. This is unprecedented and contravened the corporate resolutions regarding signatories passed by the Executive Committee...

As a result of the dismantling of the checks and balances it was possible for the signatories on these accounts to enter into the ill-fated house purchase...with a loss to the Archdiocese of $139,500 and to numerous other unauthorized transactions...

"There have been a number of unauthorized withdrawals and transfers from such accounts, all of which lacked the approval of the Executive Committee and were undocumented...

"A number of invoices...were paid without proper documentation, including, but not limited to (1) payments to credit card companies for unidentified charges made by the Archbishop's assistants for the Archbishop and (2) purchases of furniture for unidentified individuals requested by the Archbishop...

"The Archbishop has received cash payments in excess of $175,000; similar payments have been made to other individuals. Such payments make it impossible to properly account for expenses and also, to accurately reflect compensation paid to employees of the Archdiocese...

"Soon after the appointment of Fr. George Passias as Chancellor...the Chancellor...told me that the had made an arrangement with the Archbishop whereby half his salary would be paid...'off the books' from the Archdiocese's Charitable Account....I responded that...I could not make a special arrangement for him. He told me to speak to the Archbishop...I explained to the Archbishop that paying the Chancellor off the books was against the law....Despite my protests, Archbishop Spyridon directed off the book payments to the Chancellor from the Charitable Account...

"Soon after the Archbishop's enthronement...I told him that he would have to be put on the payroll and asked him for a salary figure. He told me that he would have to consult with others about this. In the meantime, he told me to make payments to him from the petty cash account...From time to time the Archbishop would call and direct me to make cash payments to him in amounts between $2,000 - $8,000 from the petty cash account...From the period of his enthronement to the time I left the Archdiocese,...the Archbishop never went on the Archdiocese's payroll system despite my continuing discussions with him about this..."

The full text of the affidavit is available in the CD Archive of the former Voithia web-site.

Paul Cromidas
Dallas, Texas

 

[ OCL - www.ocl.org/On%20Honoring%20Former.htm - April 30, 2003 ]