Chancery, FHP properties sold for $5.8M to help pay clergy sex abuse claims; court approves sale

Pacific Daily News [Hagåtña, Guam]

March 21, 2023

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

Ownership of the Archdiocese of Agana’s two major real estate properties that include the chancery will soon officially change hands after a federal judge on Monday approved the total $5.8 million sale, proceeds of which would help settle clergy sex abuse claims and pay other costs in the Catholic church’s bankruptcy case.

No one objected to the archdiocese’s $2.3 million sale of its chancery property in Agana Heights to “Phoenix Foundation or nominee” by the court’s March 16 deadline.

Former Guam National Guard adjutant general Benny Paulino of Inalåhan and other devout Catholics are members of the private foundation.

“At this time, I just want to say that the foundation is grateful for the opportunity to purchase the chancery property,” said Paulino on Tuesday.

The court also didn’t receive any objection to the archdiocese’s $3.5 million leasehold sale of its FHP/TakeCare property in Tamuning to AMBC P.C. or its assigns. AMBC also owns the Central Medical Clinic in Dededo.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood, the bankruptcy judge in the archdiocese case, issued two separate March 20 orders authorizing the sale of the chancery and the FHP/TakeCare properties.

There are some 82 other archdiocese properties, including those adjacent to or near Catholic parishes and schools, that are also expected to be sold later. Sale proceeds will go toward the clergy sex abuse settlement trust.

There’s no telling when the initial settlement payments will be released to more than 270 survivors of Guam clergy sexual assaults dating back to the 1950s. They include those who said they were raped and molested by former Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who was convicted by a Vatican tribunal for sexual assaults of multiple children.

Use of $5.8M

The judge, in her orders, said after payment of closing costs and other costs of the sale of the chancery and FHP/TakeCare properties paid by the buyers, the net proceeds shall be paid or distributed pursuant to the confirmed Fifth Amended Joint Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization.

The bankruptcy exit plan includes settlement of clergy sex abuse claims.

Out of the net proceeds of the FHP/TakeCare property sale, for example, $2 million shall be paid to First Hawaiian Bank, $200,000 shall be reserved for the Unknown Claims Trust Fund, and the balance, estimated at $1 million, shall be paid to the survivors’ trust, under the plan.

The judge amended her order, stating that after payment of taxes due, costs of title insurance and other closing costs, the realtor commissions of Home Ventures Realty are approved for $175,000. The amount, the judge said, is to be split between the seller’s and buyer’s agents per agreement.

Out of the proceeds of the $2.3 million sale of the chancery property, up to $250,000 will fund administrative claims and up to $500,000 will be used to renovate and outfit the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica for use as the reorganized archdiocese’s headquarters and chancery office and moving expenses.

Another $200,000 will be for the Unknown Claimants funding, and the remaining amount, estimated at $1 million, will be for the abuse survivors’ trust.

Overall, cash, real property and other assets transferred to the clergy sexual abuse survivors’ trust are valued at least $45.7 million, but the ultimate funding to the trust will exceed the amount, the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors earlier told the court.

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert can be reached at