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Glenview priest (formerly Milwaukee) accused of "mismanaged" funds

GreekChef

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Now that I think about it, there is something I'll say- We hated to leave the people of the Milwaukee parish.  They were so kind to us and we loved them so much.  It was terribly difficult. This parish has endured a lot of suffering over the years. They don't deserve this. Please pray for them, for their parish council to continue to do what is right for the parish, and for God's comfort, especially for the family involved in the estate that was stolen.
 

arimethea

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Here is the link to the story from Milwaukee http://www.jsonline.com/news/crime/da-asked-to-review-possible-theft-from-church-by-former-priest-b9974258z1-219333571.html
 

Maria

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Lord have mercy.

Hopefully it is a non-story, and no news is certainly good news.

Stories about priests misbehaving are not edifying.
 

LBK

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Welcome back, Presvytera!  :)
 

SolEX01

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Criminal charges will be filed against Father James Dokos for mismanaging the trust - including allegedly paying $32,000 in credit card bills with the trust's assets.

The Rev. James Dokos, leader of Glenview’s Saints Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church, will be charged with felony theft in the alleged mishandling of a trust fund at a Milwaukee church, said David Feiss, assistant district attorney for Milwaukee County.

Authorities have concluded a months-long investigation and will file a charge against Dokos of Class G felony theft, alleging he misappropriated an amount of money exceeding $10,000, Feiss said.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/glenview/chi-glenview-priest-to-be-charged-with-theft-20140619,0,2367623.story
 

BTRAKAS

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Fr. Jim has been suspended "from all priestly functions" too. He has yet to attend a court hearing to plead to the charges, for the first hearing his lawyers claimed he experienced car trouble; for the second his lawyer said that he had been admitted to the hospital for an emergency, and that he confirmed his admission to an undisclosed hospital. The judge stated if he isn't in the hospital for the next hearing and doesn't attend he will issue a warrant for his arrest.

How did the GOAA's "investigation" exonerate him of wrong doing; a question that cries out for an explanation in light of the information released in the indictment?
 

Porter ODoran

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What are the circumstances here that forced this matter outside the Church? Or is this normal procedure in EO, to call in the district attorney?
 

ICXCNIKA

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Porter ODoran said:
What are the circumstances here that forced this matter outside the Church? Or is this normal procedure in EO, to call in the district attorney?
When there is a crime committed you call the police. If the infraction is ecclesiastical you have a spiritual court. If the crime is both you do both.
 

Porter ODoran

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Was this financial crime against somebody outside the Church then? Maybe that question doesn't make sense to you, but I must say I'm more confused since your explanation, since it does seem to make this the norm, and that raises numerous questions (such as this one) for me.
 

ICXCNIKA

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Porter ODoran said:
Was this financial crime against somebody outside the Church then? Maybe that question doesn't make sense to you, but I must say I'm more confused since your explanation, since it does seem to make this the norm, and that raises numerous questions (such as this one) for me.
Maybe I don't understand...I am missing why it matters whether the crime was against someone inside or outside of the church. There are laws passed by governments that everyone including clergy and churches must obey. There are canons created by the church which its members must obey. Sometimes something is both illegal and a violation of a canon. I don't know how to explain it any differently.

Hopefully this made more sense.
 

Porter ODoran

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I was unaware of laws in America requiring a defrauded party to report the fraud to a district attorney. Of course one must as a rule follow the laws.

My confusion overall stems not only from St. Paul and Christ's commandments in re matters of fraud and suit, but a no doubt unrealistic hope that the Church has wisdom and power sufficient to handle most affairs of her members.
 

BTRAKAS

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Porter ODoran said:
What are the circumstances here that forced this matter outside the Church? Or is this normal procedure in EO, to call in the district attorney?
Fr. Jim had become "Trustee" of an estate of parishioners after the widow either passed away or was not able to manage her financial affairs. One million dollars from this trust was donated toward construction of a social center for the Annunciation Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, of which he was the Presiding Priest since the mid-'80s. (The church is a rather unique Neo-Byzantine style, the last church designed by American Architect Frank Lloyd Wright.) The questions surround a $110,000.00 estate residue. Fr. Jim had become the sole signatory of the Trust Fund.

Within the same Metropolis of Chicago, Fr. Jim was transferred to Sts. Peter & Paul Church in Glenview, Illinois a few years ago. (The Divine Services were nearly exclusively celebrated in English, until Fr. Jim's assignment; who brought in more Greek.)

Since his departure from Milwaukee, someone on the Parish Council, either the Treasurer or President, became aware of this trustee account; I'm not sure how. Either concurrently, or separately, the Parish Council advised the Holy Metropolis of Chicago of the existence of this account which had not been previously reported or audited as a parish account, as required by the GOAA's Uniform Parish Regulations (UPR); (for some time, the account statements were mailed to the church, but later changed to Fr. Jim's residence). The Metropolis somehow advised the Holy Archdiocese of the matter, which did some level of a review of it, and found no wrong doing in connection with it.

I'm not sure when the civil authorities were advised, but typically state law and federal law in connection with tax exempt non-profit corporations, have standards of which the church is held responsible and likewise, are  its Parish Council members and officers.

The "Monomakhos" blog has been reporting information from the Milwaukee and Chicago media on this matter for some time.
 

podkarpatska

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Because of our history with the Unia and its bishops in America prior to returning to Orthodoxy in the 1930's, clergy in the ACROD are typically NOT parish trustees or signatories to any parish accounts. While situations like this matter are thereby avoided, other issues of lay control arise in their stead. No system is perfect as no people are either.
 

BTRAKAS

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podkarpatska said:
Because of our history with the Unia and its bishops in America prior to returning to Orthodoxy in the 1930's, clergy in the ACROD are typically NOT parish trustees or signatories to any parish accounts. While situations like this matter are thereby avoided, other issues of lay control arise in their stead. No system is perfect as no people are either.
Same with the GOAA, "podkarpatska." Fr. Jim's trustee and signatory responsibilities in this matter, with the Metropolis Chancellor's knowledge, is extraordinary. I doubt if it will happen, but the Chancellor, Titular Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, should be called to account as to how he knowingly allowed Fr. Jim to serve in this capacity. This mater is an example of why priests shouldn't engage in such responsibilities. Fr. Jim, while thought of as somewhat of a self-promoter, was a knowledgeable, respected priest, a fine liturgist and preacher, as well, who threw away his respected priestly ministry due to his actions in this matter.
 

BTRAKAS

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-CORRECTION-

To my Reply No. 16 above.

I was in error when I wrote that officials of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America had reviewed the trustee account; it had not reviewed it.
 
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