Archdiocese, creditors clash over bankruptcy assets

National Catholic Reporter

Brian Roewe | May. 27, 2016

Starkly conflicting views of total assets have placed the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese and its creditors at dramatic odds, with the latter claiming that the archdiocese’s just-released reorganization plan represents 1 percent of total assets they say approach $2 billion.

On Thursday, May 26, the archdiocese filed its reorganization plan with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the District of Minnesota. The plan proposes $65 million to establish an independent trust through which it would settle the 440 claims made by survivors of clergy sexual abuse. The trust is to be funded by a combination of archdiocesan cash, property sales, insurance settlement proceeds, and contributions from parish insurance settlements.

The archdiocese said that the $65 million figure surpasses what has been proposed in a majority of already diocesan bankruptcies. In a statement, newly installed Archbishop Bernard Hebda urged for fast approval of the plan.

“The longer the process lasts, more money is spent on attorneys’ fees and bankruptcy expenses; and, in turn, less money is available for victims/survivors,” he said.

“While we believe that this Plan is fair, we also know that some well-intentioned people may raise objections,” said Hebda, who before his May 13 installation served as apostolic administrator of St. Paul-Minneapolis following Archbishop John Nienstedt’s resignation last June.

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