Creditors, Diocese Meet on Bankruptcy
The Davenport Diocese Has Revised a Filing on Its Assets. It Now Says They're Worth about $9.1 Million

By Shirley Ragsdale
Des Moines Register
November 9, 2006

Davenport, Ia. - Parties involved in the bankruptcy of the Davenport Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church discussed the diocese's assets at a creditors' meeting Wednesday.

The meeting was the first opportunity for federal bankruptcy court officials and creditors to question diocese representatives about filings related to the assets.

The meeting, conducted by Assistant U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee James Snyder, focused on amended documents that set the diocese assets at more than $9.1 million, with about $4.5 million of that in real estate.

Just after declaring bankruptcy last month, the diocese in court filings said it had $4.5 million in assets.

The latest estimate of the diocese's worth does not include any insurance coverage that may pay for claims by people who have alleged they were sexually abused as children by diocesan priests.

The diocese said it was those claims and others they expected to receive that forced it to file for bankruptcy in October. Bishop William Franklin, who is retiring, said the bankruptcy was the only way to fairly address the claims.

At the hearing, Charlene Maaske, the diocesan's chief financial officer, said the diocese receives almost all of its money from its parishes, payments that are sent monthly.

The diocese sets a budget goal and asks each congregation to contribute, according to the congregation's size and ability to pay. If parishes are able to "go over goal" the diocese refunds the extra money back to local churches.

Maaske said that the diocese intends to liquidate all of its assets - which include the chancery, the bishop's residence and a farm west of Davenport - to pay its creditors.

Although other creditors' attorneys were present at the hearing, only Craig Levien of Davenport, a lawyer for abuse victims with current claims against the diocese, questioned Maaske. Levien asked the diocese to provide a report that is sent to the Vatican that includes all assets and activities.

After the meeting, Levien said, "One issue we're going to look at is that they are now declaring assets of $8 (million) or $9 million plus insurance. That's double what they said they had two weeks ago."

Reporter Shirley Ragsdale can be reached at (515) 284-8208 or


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