Davenport Diocese to Sell Three Properties Soon

By Barb Arland-Fye
Catholic News Service
December 19, 2006

Davenport, Iowa (CNS) -- Three Davenport diocesan properties -- including the house that Bishop Martin J. Amos recently moved into -- were to go on sale by Christmas as part of the diocese's bankruptcy proceedings. A fourth property, the diocese's St. Vincent Center headquarters, will be sold later.

The Diocesan Corporate Board and Finance Council met Dec. 4 and decided to take action immediately because the property must be sold to compensate the diocese's creditors, victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Details of the proposed sales will be included in the diocese's reorganization plan, which was to be delivered to the bankruptcy court by Christmas, said Dick Davidson, the diocese's bankruptcy attorney.

Bishop Amos' suggestion that he would be willing to move into a smaller house encouraged diocesan leadership to move ahead with listing the properties, said Char Maaske, the diocese's chief financial officer. The bishop's house, a duplex, has an assessed value of $196,260.

The bishop said he doesn't need that much space and wants a home the diocese can afford. He would even be willing to put his carpentry skills to work by taking a house that might require a little fixing up.

Bishop Amos told The Catholic Messenger, Davenport diocesan newspaper, that recently while doing laundry and cleaning the house he decided he would be willing to downsize. He realized he had a lot more to clean then he's used to. For many of his 38 years in ministry, he has made do with two rooms -- a bedroom and sitting room, he said.

Maaske said the corporate board and finance council selected three real estate companies at random to manage the sale of the three properties -- the bishop's residence; a 26-acre farm in southwest Davenport that has an assessed value of $110,630; and a house across the street from Mount Calvary Cemetery, with an assessed value of $81,740.

Diocesan officials also have been looking at commercial property to rent as headquarters after the St. Vincent Center is sold at a later date. That property has an assessed value of $4,160,800.

Any action the diocese takes concerning the sale of property will require the bankruptcy judge's approval, as will the reorganization plan.

The Creditors Committee also must approve the reorganization plan and their representatives will be involved in negotiations with insurance companies pertaining to diocesan liability insurance policies, Davidson said. Those insurance policies will become part of the assets of the bankruptcy estate.

As another part of the reorganization plan, the diocese must place advertisements in various newspapers to seek victims of clergy sexual abuse who have not yet come forward.



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