St. Francis — The Archdiocese of Milwaukee filed 25 pages of financial statements in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Monday, Feb. 7, listing $40.7 million in assets, $24 million in liabilities and its financial holdings. This is the first step in the legal process to come to a settlement agreement with victims/survivors of sexual abuse of minors by priests.
The archdiocese filed a petition for relief under the U.S Bankruptcy code Jan. 4 after attorneys for 16 victims/survivors of sexual abuse of minors by priests rejected the $4.6 million settlement offered in mediation with lawyers for victims/survivors and an independent mediator near the end of last year. Since the beginning of the process, the attorney representing victims/survivors told the archdiocese of eight additional people who intended to file lawsuits.
A meeting of creditors, or creditors’ meeting, required by section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code, will be held Friday, Feb. 11, in which John Marek, chief financial officer and debtor representative of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, will be questioned under oath in a recorded proceeding, by creditors, a trustee, examiner, or the U.S. trustee about his financial affairs.
The meeting, usually held within 40 days of a bankruptcy case filing, is meant to determine if the debtor’s financial schedules – defined by the U.S. Courts as detailed lists filed by the debtor along with (or shortly after filing) the petition showing the debtor’s assets, liabilities, and other financial information – are complete and offers any creditors and their representatives, including attorneys, the chance to appear and ask questions about the financial schedules and statement of financial affairs.
The archdiocese hired an agency that specializes in the notification process to notify anyone who received a payment in any form – stipend, reimbursement, etc. – of the creditors’ meeting, according to the archdiocesan Web site. The Web site also states that because of the archdiocese’s “wide-ranging obligations, it was required to include the names of all who received checks on the list of creditors.”
Attendance at the creditors’ meeting is optional, meaning that creditors or other parties aren’t required to attend the meeting, nor will they lose rights by not attending.
The complete financial report is available on the archdiocesan Web site, www.archmil.org. Click on “Chapter 11 Reorganization” and then on “Financial Information.”
The archdiocese will post updates on the Chapter 11 reorganization on its Web site.