Re­li­gion Briefs For­mer Ortho­dox chan­cel­lor ousted from priest­hood

Kon­drat­ick ac­cused of fi­nan­cial wrong­do­ing

The Covington News - - RELIGION -

NEW YORK - A for­mer chan­cel­lor of the Ortho­dox Church in Amer­ica, who has been ac­cused of long­time fi­nan­cial wrong­do­ing, has been ousted from the priest­hood.

The ver­dict by an OCA spir­i­tual court against Robert Kon­drat­ick took ef­fect July 31. Kon­drat­ick has said he’s in­no­cent. He held the sec­ond­high­est job in the de­nom­i­na­tion.

Fi­nan­cial con­trols in the church had been “ cir­cum­vented” at least since 1998, ac­cord­ing to church lead­ers, and au­di­tors un­cov­ered a “pat­tern of per­sonal use of church money” for years. No dol­lar amount has been given.

The is­sue be­came pub­lic last year af­ter a for­mer OCA trea­surer al­leged wide­spread fi­nan­cial mis­con­duct in­volv­ing mil­lions of dol­lars. The trea­surer had said Metropoli­tan Theo­do­sius, the re­tired head of the church, was in­volved. But a church in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­cluded that Kon­drat­ick was solely re­spon­si­ble, said the Rev. Andrew Jar­mus, an OCA spokesman.

Among the prob­lems au­di­tors dis­cov­ered:

• “Hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars” in charges were made to church and em­ployee credit cards that had been sub­mit­ted for re­im­burse­ment, but no orig­i­nal re­ceipts or doc­u­men­ta­tion had been pro­vided for most of the ex­penses.

• The chan­cel­lor had taken nearly $ 10,000 in cash from church ac­counts, partly to pay unau­tho­rized year-end em­ployee bonuses. Au­di­tors found no proof that the em­ploy­ees re­ceived the money.

• The church had loaned money to em­ploy­ees — in some cases in­ter­est-free — and some of the loans weren’t re­paid.

• Cash was be­ing stored in un­locked draw­ers or cab­i­nets.

• The church had used some money do­nated for a spe­cific pur­pose to in­stead cover op­er­at­ing costs.

Jar­mus said Tues­day that he didn’t know whether a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion was un­der way. He said the IRS hasn’t con­tacted the church about its non­profit sta­tus.

The 400,000- mem­ber church, based in Syos­set, N.Y., is now over­haul­ing its ac­count­ing and hir­ing prac­tices. The Holy Synod of Bishops re­cently de­cided that all can­di­dates for the priest­hood must un­dergo na­tional le­gal and psy­cho­log­i­cal back­ground tests.

Trou­bled megachurch se­lects new pas­tor

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A pas­tor from a sub­ur­ban Dal­las megachurch has been cho­sen as the se­nior pas­tor at New Life Church, which has bat­tled de­clin­ing at­ten­dance since dis­graced church founder Ted Hag­gard was fired.

More than 95 per­cent of New Life mem­bers backed Brady Boyd, 40, in an up-or­down vote by se­cret bal­lot. He will be­gin serv­ing im­me­di­ately, as­so­ci­ate pas­tor Rob Bren­dle said.

Boyd had been an as­so­ci­ate se­nior pas­tor at Gate­way Church in South­lake, Texas.

Hag­gard, 51, left New Life and re­signed as pres­i­dent of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Evan­gel­i­cals last year, af­ter a for­mer male pros­ti­tute al­leged a three-year cash-for-sex re­la­tion­ship. The man also said he saw Hag­gard use metham­phetamine. Hag­gard con­fessed to undis­closed “sex­ual im­moral­ity” and said he bought meth but never used it.

Now liv­ing in the Phoenix area, Hag­gard has come un­der fur­ther scru­tiny for urg­ing sup­port­ers to sup­port his fam­ily fi­nan­cially through a non­profit group, Fam­i­lies With a Mis­sion, with ties to a reg­is­tered sex of­fender.

At New Life, Boyd will over­see a church of about 10,000 mem­bers — down from 14,000 since the Hag­gard scan­dal — a $12 mil­lion bud­get and a staff of 150. Be­sides a drop in its at­ten­dance, New Life has seen its rev­enues drop by 10 per­cent since Hag­gard left.

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