Diocese bankruptcy costs exceed $3.6 million
By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Gallup Independent correspondent
February 6, 2016
ALBUQUERQUE – As the Diocese of Gallup pushes to conclude its Chapter 11 case in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, its bankruptcy costs have exceeded $3.6 million. Attorneys, accountants and other professionals submitted quarterly billing statements totaling $340,520.07 for the period of Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, adding up to a total current cost of $3,587,597.65.
However, the quarterly statements do not represent a completely accurate total of the Gallup Diocese’s bankruptcy expenses. They do not include the $38,675 the diocese has paid the U.S. Trustee Program, which oversees the administration of bankruptcy cases.
The statements also do not include miscellaneous expenses the diocese has been paying each month from its bank accounts, such as the $45,000 the diocese paid Tucson Realty & Trust Co. and Accelerated Marketing Group to conduct two property auctions in September. Those U.S. Trustee and miscellaneous bankruptcy payments total more than $93,000 and push the post-bankruptcy filing total to more than $3.6 million.
In addition, prior to filing its Chapter 11 petition Nov. 12, 2013, the Diocese of Gallup made payments to some of its bankruptcy law firms and its accounting firm.
Unless otherwise stated, the following final quarterly figures for 2015 and the total fees and expenses will not be paid until the Gallup Diocese has an approved plan of reorganization:
-Quarles & Brady LLP: The Diocese of Gallup's lead bankruptcy law firm from Tucson submitted a quarterly statement of $180,208.33 for legal fees and expenses. The firm's total post-petition legal bill is now $1,994,521.23.
-Keegan, Linscott & Kenon P.C: This Tucson accounting firm has been overseeing the Gallup Diocese 's finance office. The firm submitted a quarterly statement for $18,596.50 in fees – its lowest quarterly bill during the bankruptcy. It did not bill for any expenses. The firm's total post-petition bill is now $431,385.96.
-Stelzner, Winter, Warburton, Flores, Sanchez & Dawes P.A.: The diocese's special counsel law firm from Albuquerque billed $303.87 in fees this quarter. The firm's total post-petition bill is now $12,435.21.
-Insurance Archaeology Group: This insurance research company did not submit a statement for this quarterly period. To date the company has billed the Gallup Diocese $48,819 and has received payment for that amount.
-Estate Valuation Consultants Inc.: This real estate appraisal company did not submit a statement for this quarterly period. To date the company has billed the diocese $22,100 and has received payment for that amount.
-Michael P. Murphy: Murphy is the court appointed future claims representative who will represent any clergy sex abuse claimant who might come forward in the future. Murphy has not been paid yet, but his fee of $50,000 plus expenses will be due and payable upon the effective date of any plan of reorganization.
-Walker & Associates P.C.: The diocese's Albuquerque bankruptcy law firm did not submit a statement for this quarter. To date, the firm has billed $18,062.40 in post-petition fees and expenses.
-Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP: This California law firm is the legal counsel for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, which represents the interests of clergy sex abuse survivors who have filed claims against the diocese in the bankruptcy case. Although the committee represents abuse claimants, the Diocese of Gallup is responsible for those legal fees. The law firm submitted a quarterly statement for $141,412.37 in fees and expenses. The firm's total post-petition bill is now $1,060,273.85.