Michael Psaros Resigns as Archdiocese Treasurer, Talks to TNH

Michel Psaros announces his resignation from his position as Treasurer of the Archdiocesan Council. Shown are Archbishop Demetrios of America and Metropolitan Maximos of Sylibria. (Photo by TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)

BOSTON– Prominent global businessman Michael Psaros has announced that he will resign as Treasurer of the Archdiocesan Council at the end of his term in October, amid pressure from many, priests especially, to add $1 million per year to the proposed balanced budgets of 2019 and 2020 for the Clergy Pension plan, even as he repeatedly explained that was not feasible. A prolonged discussion resulted in an ultimate balanced budget, at $22. 4 million, for the next two years.

He appealed to the priests “with love and respect,” explaining that while he personally has “no objection” to this idea, “where will the money come from? You are the pastors of the church,” he reminded them. “The problem is not new, it started decades ago,” but he implored that if the budget is not balanced, “it will be tragic.”

Audit Committee Chair Ellaine Allen said the Pension Program is underfunded by $53 million. But the priests insisted on $1 million to be deposited into the fund every year, telling the Executive Committee it ought to make more cuts in the budget or go out and find the money.

At that point, Psaros turned and said to Archbishop Demetrios: “I am in shock, Your Eminence,and with love and respect I am not going to serve again as your treasurer. In October, I am done and I ask you to be involved in fixing St. Nicholas [National Shrine] and being involved in the fundraising efforts. I thank everyone in this room for the blessing and privilege of the last two years’ time trying to fix the problem. It is my opinion at least as treasurer for at least 60 remaining days that we don’t have a budget and I hope the newspapers publish that. Thank you.”

The Archbishop stood and said, “Archon Michael Psaros thought that we are facing something simple. You go to buy something if you don’t have the money what happens? It is a simple thing. He connected this simple thing with his resignation, but as Archbishop I say resignation not accepted. We should be extremely thankful to this team that worked on the Archdiocese’s finances and made it functional. By Archdiocese, I mean the headquarters because the Archdiocese is also the five hundred and forty parishes. This team did more than superhuman work.

The delegates of the Clergy Laity Congress were surprise by Michael Psaros’ resignation. Shown are Bishops Andonios of Phasiane and Apostolos of Medeia. (Photo by TNH staff)

“For an informed discussion and decision we need full information. So we have this talk today, we started with the proposal by the Finance Committee, zero increasing for 2019, zero increasing for 2020, the discussions seemed to be some sort of accommodation of opinions taking care of the important issue of the pension of the clergy and simply talking about raising it 3 percent for the year 2020 and just with accompanying hope there might be other sources during this period and simply eliminate the necessity for the 3 percent. And then we started with recommendations and other recommendations and this and that. This is something that needed a little more information.”

Psaros told The National Herald that “I am done. I am very proud of our work as a national office group. In August of 2017, this Archdiocese couldn’t make payroll and had garbage piled up to the second level of the 79th Street headquarters buildings because we couldn’t afford to pay the garbage man. We transformed the Archdiocese in less than nine months into an enterprise with a balanced budget generating a $2 million surplus. It is unfortunate today because I think we really fixed things with the heroic efforts of five volunteer officers, but the actions today actually blew up and destroyed everything that we worked for over the last nine months. I cannot believe that the Congress that has a duty to almost two million Greek Orthodox in this country could take a budget that exists today which is generating a $2 million surplus and vote in a budget for 2019 with $1.3 million deficit and the year after that with a $2.5 million deficit and the officers and the hierarchs have the temerity to say that ‘we don’t care where the money comes from, just go find it or just go cut it.’

“I am a global businessman. I own and operate multimillion dollar global corporations. Can you imagine any for-profit enterprise institutionalizing a budget where expenses exceed revenues? And for that reason I have decided in honor of my family, my family name, to step down from my position as treasurer.

Michael Psaros grants an exclusive interview to The National Herald’s Religion Editor Theodoros Kalmoukos shortly after the announcement of his resignation. (Photo by TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)

“I cannot take my name, my family’s name and my reputation and attach it to this budget. For clarity, I will serve to the rest of my term because I was raised the right way and I am a gentleman and I have made a commitment.”

Psaros is co-Founder and co-Managing Partner of the private equity fund KPS Capital Partners LP. He is the son of George and Mary Ann Psaros and grandson of four Greek immigrants. Psaros’ father was a senior executive in the mill, and his great-grandfather worked at a Weirton, WV open hearth furnace in the days when E.T. Weir owned the mill. In 1983, union steelworkers voted to purchase the company with the help of investment banker Eugene Keilin, renaming it Weirton Steel. The buyout saved the town, and inspired Psaros to think about how management and labor could work together to revitalize the flagging manufacturing industry in America. Psaros began his career as an investment banker at Bear, Stearns & Co., Inc. During the 1990s he worked for Keilin, who by then had created his own firm with a colleague. Keilin, Psaros, and another partner, David Shapiro, founded KPS in 1997.

Psaros is an Archon, Ostiarios, of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, where he serves on its National Council. He is also a founding member of FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism; and serves on the Board of Trustees of Leadership 100 – Advancing Hellenism and Orthodoxy in America, the Executive Board of The Hellenic Initiative, and is a member of AHEPA. He is a benefactor of the Orthodox Church in Sierra Leone, Latin America, Korea and Jerusalem.

Psaros, and his wife, Robin, are benefactors of the St. Nicholas National Shrine in New York City, and the Washington OXI DAY Foundation.

He received the Recipient of the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Award for Excellence, the Homeric Award from the Chian Association, the Humanitarian Award from the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund, and the Executive of the Year Award from the Hellenic American Bankers Association, the Homeric Award from The Chian Federation, Hellenic Heritage Award from the Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Church, and the Inspiration Award from the Loukoumi Foundation. He was also honored by the Georgetown University Wall Street Alliance at its New York Scholarship Gala, and by the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity at its Chrysanthemum Ball.

He is also the Executive Producer and underwriter of the documentary short film, “PISTEVO”, about the centrality of Iconography in the Orthodox Christian Faith, which may be viewed at www.theartofbelief.org. The film has been viewed in over 20 countries by tens of thousands of the faithful. PISTEVO won “The Award of Excellence” at the IndieFEST Film Awards.

Psaros serves on the Board of Directors of Georgetown University. He and his wife created The Michael and Robin Psaros Endowed Chair in Business Administration at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business where he also serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Advisors.

26 Comments

  1. No one has yet to say who transferred the monies from supposedly restricted accounts to pay for archdiocese expenses. Who signed the transfer papers? Who pushed the button on the computer?

  2. Dear Mr. Kalmoukos,
    You are doing a wonderful job reporting on alleged scandals of the Archdiocese. I just wish that your publisher could put a few more reporters on these various alleged scandals. The enormity of the allegations (what happened to the funds received from the sale of the archbishops residence?, etc. etc.) are more than one reporter could ever possibly cover adequately cover. The Ethnikos Kirikas should be shooting for a Pulitzer Prize but I fear that such an award is out of reach with only one reporter apparently on these matters.

  3. As long as you are a hierarch, you don’t need to worry about consequences. Just ask his Disgrace. The only way he will resign is when there is a threat of prosecution. Even then, he’s guaranteed a position with ‘a four-letter bank’… the public has no clue… why do you think there has been NO transparency? Prove Me Wrong…

    1. Didn’t he threaten to leave the priesthood in the 90’s? Now he threatens to resign! Just do it! Enough of your sour grapes and hissy fits.

  4. After his bullying, unprofessional, immature and insulting tactics he should resign. He insulted every clergyman, every delegate present and the HC/HC! Why? All because we dared to question this condescending man? We have this right.

    He should resign and George Tsandikos, Cathy Walsh and their puppet CFO Baroody should follow suit.

    He was proven wrong and in retaliation has a tantrum and runs away. He certainly showed his true colors claiming he must protect his reputation. What about the reputation of the people he, Tsandikos and Walsh attacked. What about the Clergy he insulted, what about the HC/HC board he insulted?

    To resign yet state he wants to work on St. Nicholas!? Why? All to stroke his ego and have his PR team work on his self promotion.

    Thank you Mr. Psaros for showing your true colors and resigning. Perhaps you and the rest of your self anointed dream team should follow your example.

    1. Poor Jerry – now relegated to being a full time anonymous commentator on the national herald website. How exactly was Psaros “proven wrong?” A congress of overpaid priests decides to vote to expend funds that don’t exist? Why should Psaros expend his time and resources when these ungrateful people vote to further financially strangle the Archdiocese? And whom did Psaros “attack”- the ones who lined their pockets and are now awaiting their fates from our criminal justice system?

      1. “Poor Jerry” does not comment anonymously and is not any of the individuals who have posted. If I have something to say I will use my name as I always have. I’m not afraid to speak up after 30 years of service Mr. jPappas. What’s your history and knowledge of the inner workings of the Archdiocese? If you have something to say to me, say it to my face or email me or call me. Enough Said. Jerry Dimitriou.

      2. Given all of the vindictive things that have been said, why shouldn’t I comment on here even if it is anonymously? Maybe I have posted anonymously, maybe I haven’t.

      3. I think the moderator on this website should do a better job of fact checking user names and emails before they allow posts. The last post about me posting anonymously was NOT me and obviously a different user name. I have a real account on this site not a fake one. Whoever posted it should grow up. The moderator should remove it.

      4. Jerry- a helpful piece of advice: I think you should be more concerned with the US Attorney rather than the moderator of the national herald.

      5. Jerry,
        You left the Archdiocese in shambles and your foolish letter to this paper about the Marriot reservation proved to everyone at the Congress what a light weight you are. Finally, be a man and apologize for the squandering of monies under your watch and stop attacking a 90 year old man that put his trust in you. Shame on you.

    2. You don’t need any of these losers if you stop all financial support in every parish, that’s the only way. If you like your priest, send him cash or a check made out to him at his house. You have to starve the beast to death. That’s the only way. Stop all money, everywhere. Parish, Metropolis, Patriarch. Let the lights go out and let the limos run out of gas.

      1. the answer is in Archdiocese-wide escrow accounts……I have been advocating for quite some time now that every parish of the Archdiocese should open an escrow account for the specific purpose of each parish to deposit its regular contributions……each parish , rather than submitting its regular monetary contirbutions, should send the Archdioces hierarchs their monthly statements for each escrow account as a reminder as to what they are missing out on…..only when there is full transparency from above , and only then, should the funds be released by each parish……watch how quickly change is effected Archiocese-wide…….

  5. Mr. Psaros sounds like a good and honest man who loves the Church. While he may be an accomplished global businessman he obviously was misled about what the Clergy-Laity Congress has become over the years. The Archbishop accidentally let the cat out of the bag, when he said that the delegates “needed a little more information.” If he wanted to be completely transparent and honest he should have told Mr. Psaros the following:

    “Successive amendments to the UPR have eliminated the ability of the laity to have a real voice in the Church. The Congress is intentionally staged to divert the attention of delegates from any important deliberations by the only two committees that matter [Administration and Finance]. Instead, the agenda includes: (1) SPEECHES the Consul General of Greece, the Patriarch, Archbishop and Patriarchal representatives. Those all could have been sent to the delegates weeks before the Congress and given to the Press a day or two before the Congress convened; (2) Workshops and seminars; (3) Banquets and black-tie dinners.

    “Delegates are meant to arrive completely unprepared to do any meaningful work as the “highest deliberative body of the Archdiocese”. Detailed information about the finances and proposed legislative issues are not sent to delegates weeks, or even months before they arrive. For many of the clergy delegates the Congress is a paid family vacation and/or ‘class reunion’. Lay parish delegates are expected to bring their tuxedos, ,enjoy the banquets, black tie dinners, go to workshops, attend seminars, enjoy doxologies and 4th of July fireworks.. and leave the Administration and Finance committee meetings to the ecclesiastical bureaucrats from East 79th Street and other “insiders”. Having been sufficiently razzle- dazzled those who haven’t already left for home are supposed to show up at the Plenary session and vote to approve budgets and amendments to the UPR they have had no input into and do not understand… and then go home and report to their parishes that ‘all is well’.”

    If the Archbishop and other planners of the Congress had explained all of this to Mr. Psaros he might have been better prepared for what happened in Boston this time around.

    If delegates are kept in the dark, fed fantasy PR from East 79th Street, bombarded with ethnocentric and hyperbolic diatribes by some in the media and are insulted by the “bread and circuses” at these staged events, it is anybody’s guess if they will turn their thumbs up or down when they are asked to vote at the end of the show.

    Here is how I see it. The Archdiocese does not believe in smoke detectors, sprinklers or any other fire prevention measures. It sets fire to its own house, waits until it is fully engulfed in flames and then calls the fireman (Mr. Psiros). He works hard, devotes his time, talent and even some of his treasure to survey the ruins and comes up with corrective measures. When his efforts are rebuffed because of the incompetence of those who set the fire and mismanaged the meeting that was supposed to approve his efforts, his response on the way our the door is: “I will ask His Eminence if I could limit my involvement to fundraising for St. Nicholas Shrine.”

    Really?

    1. Psaros has never done a restructure or workout where the management and/ or board was not switched out, fired, dumped……except this one. That’s why he met with failure. He balanced the books for a moment in time and handed the enterprise back to the ones who broke it in the first place. He was counseled through friends and associates to familiarize himself with the depths of corruption and the history of the personalities. He chose to plow ahead without doing so or ever doing a listening tour among the aggrieved clergy. Now, having been used by Demetrios, Bart, and all the joker hierarchs, he will get a medal and be sent to the back of the room. The next “boss” will probably be a pizza parlor owner from Ohio asking for more “blessings” from the fake hierarchs.. They don’t call it “Byzantine” for no reason, fellas and gals.

  6. the answer is in Archdiocese-wide escrow accounts……I have been advocating for quite some time now that every parish of the Archdiocese should open an escrow account for the specific purpose of each parish to deposit its regular contributions……each parish , rather than submitting its regular monetary contirbutions, should send the Archdioces hierarchs their monthly statements for each escrow account as a reminder as to what they are missing out on…..only when there is full transparency from above , and only then, should the funds be released by each parish……watch how quickly change is effected Archiocese-wide…….

    1. Why escrow? The heck with the archdiocese. Take same fees, make payments to the priest pension fund, pay off parish debts, start your own endowment fund for the parish, do something for the poor, provide assistance to the elderly. Get it?

      Send the archdiocese a quarterly statement: “We did God’s work with these monies, the net to you is zero”.

      Don’t be stupid. An escrow anticipates a pay out. No pay outs. Cut them off. Tell them, “we excommunicate you from our midst, you leaches”.

  7. The question of who transferred the monies and under who’s direction was not clearly answered. It was stated 2 people were involved, one said both knew and the other said he didn’t know – according to his grace. Jerry can you clear this up for us all?

    1. Jerry only comments about issues that pertain to his “looking good”. He has yet to grant an interview to anyone to tell us what really happened. Probably because of a pending law suit. Maybe the final audit of the credit card expenditures will reveal the truth. He allowed 37 corporate cards to be used at the Archdiocese with NO controls. Ridiculous. I’m sure at that point there will be radio silence from Long Island.

  8. So ? Psaros has resigned……what is Andonios waiting for ?…he will never resign, he’s got a great gig going as do the remainder of the Mets……

  9. I have turned around many companies in my life. Having read the facts here, this is one I would have RUN AWAY from.

    I don’t know Mr. Psaros, but it appears, from what is written, that he and his team diligently and professionally attempted to change the course of the Archdiocese (against all odds).

    Unfortunately, organizational culture is destiny in this case. He may have been 1000% correct on the diagnosis and the cure, but the patient refuses to take the medicine.

    Having been in similar situations many times, I sincerely sympathize with Mr. Psaros. It’s easy to throw stones, sitting in the audience of the Clergy Laity Congress. The fact is – this guy rolled up his sleeves and tried to make a change…when I’m SURE he had MANY better things to do….and at GREAT personal cost.

    My hat is off to Mr. Psaros for taking the time, making the commitment and attempting to see it through. Unfortunately, you are dealing with an organization which has been bankrupt in every way but money, for many, many years.

    As someone who grew up in the GOA, working every day to make a parish grow and prosper, it sincerely grieves me to see what is going on at the Archdiocese – even though I left many years ago to join the OCA.

    May our good Lord be truly merciful to those still inside the Archdiocese who have so stubbornly and selfishly resisted the necessary changes, all because of their own parochial interests. They have consciously or unconsciously, contributed to the abysmal yet colossal failure of the Greek Orthodox Church on this continent.

    It didn’t need to be this way!

    1. Dean Calvert is correct. Sadly he is another example of people who leave the GOA in frustration. He and others who are dedicated, love our Faith and live extremely moral lives leave. Their talents lost forever. This void has caused the GOA to operate at the level we find ourselves today. We promote the lincompetent among our Laity as long as the “kiss the ring” of local Parish Priest or one of our Hierarchy.
      We, as a National Religion in the United States, will eventually go extinct! How sad!

  10. This exact problem is going on in our Metropolis as well. I attended a clergy/laity meeting for the first time and was shocked that no questions were asked about the large amounts of money used for humble servants of the lord. Housing costs and living expenses are enormous (not modest like mine) and travel expenses shocked me. The majority of priests were nodding off or sleeping during the business meeting (Metropolitan included) or they were on their cell phones. The laity sat in silence as all financial statements from the past year were approved with no explanations for the gigantic expenses. The current year budget, which was already 4 months into the year) was also respectfully approved by the laity.
    A private business could not survive with these policies and this organization is being run like the US Government with no checks and balances. Mr. Psaros is correct that limits on spending must be put into place and expenses must be audited and controlled. The road to success is living within your means. No business can run in the red indefinitely.
    My observations in the management of funds has been that the majority of people do not understand nor do they want to understand what is required to follow a budget and have a surplus at the end of each fiscal year. Mr. Psaros reached his objective in an amazingly short time and the establishment wants to destroy all he and his team accomplished by not following the budget. Without cooperation, his job is futile and any intelligent person would also resign in this instance.

  11. Mr. Psaros asked where the money would come from and the Congress voted yeah on a line item budget cut of over $800,000. This was a motion voted and carried. This didn’t sit well with the Leadership and was put aside. Why is nobody talking about this and why was the answer to the question of where will the money come from once answered not accepted?

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