Dennis Mehiel Resigns from St. Nicholas Investigative Committee

Left to right: Dennis Mehiel, Eugene Rossides, Cypriot Ambassador Leonidas Pantelides. (Photo by TNH/Bill Petros)

BOSTON – Greek-American businessman Dennis Mehiel in a letter dated July 30, 2018 submitted his resignation to His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios Geron of America from the St. Nicholas Special Investigative Committee.

Mr. Mehiel wrote in his resignation letter that “It appears my understanding of the Committee’s role in resolving the issues that caused the project to founder is at odds with what Your Eminence had intended when appointed us.”

It should be noted here that Mr. Mehiel was instrumental in achieving an agreement with the Authorities of New York for the rebuild of S. Nicholas. Mr. Mehiel is the second official who resigns from an Archdiocesan Committee. The first one was Mr. Michael Psaros who resigned as treasurer of the Archdiocesan Council at the recent Clergy Laity Congress.

In November of 2017 after The National Herald’s revelations about the dire financial situation of the Archdiocese and the transfer of funds from restricted accounts of St. Nicholas to the operational accounts of the Archdiocese, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios appointed that Special Investigative Committee.

Also the Archdiocese issued the following News Rerelease announcing that Investigative Committee and its mission:

“The Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America formed an independent Special Investigative Committee (the ‘Special Investigative Committee’) related to St. Nicholas National Shrine, at a special meeting on November 21, 2017. The Executive Committee, which includes the Archbishop, the Holy Eparchial Synod and lay members, determined that it is in the best interests of the Archdiocese and Her faithful to form this Special Investigative Committee to investigate and evaluate expenditures related to (1) the St. Nicholas Shrine construction project, and (2) the potential use of certain St. Nicholas Shrine restricted funds for the payment of Archdiocesan general operating expenses. This special committee will make a report of its findings and recommendations to the Executive Committee, which will share the results of the investigation and recommendations with, among others, the legal and audit committees.
The Executive Committee appointed the following individuals to serve on the Special Investigative Committee: Mr. George Canellos, Esq., Mr. Nikiforos Mathews, Esq., Mr. Dennis Mehiel, and Mr. John Pappajohn.
Authorized to engage independent advisors, including its own independent legal counsel, and independent accountant or audit firm if deemed necessary, the Special Investigative Committee has been given full authority to contact, obtain information from and consult with the Archdiocese’s current and former officers, employees, volunteers and contractors, in connection with any matters within its review. It has been asked to provide a preliminary report within ninety days and periodic updates, thereafter. BakerHostetler and PwC will serve as independent legal counsel and independent accountants, respectively.”

On July 30, 2018, Mr. Mehiel’s resigned with the following letter:

“Your Eminence,
I write to submit my resignation, effective immediately, as both the Chair and a Member of the St. Nicholas Special Investigative Committee you appointed this past November.
It appears my understanding of the Committee’s role in resolving the issues that caused the project to founder is at odds with what Your Eminence had intended when appointed us. Unfortunately, I have concluded that the work we had hoped to accomplish will not be possible with the current framework in place.
I am aware that members of the Council have initiated some activity designed to meet the challenges the Archdiocese faces in attempting to complete the project, and I wish you and Council success in this most critical endeavor.
Sincerely
Dennis Mehiel .”

Mr. Mehiel is the former Chairman, CEO and Principal Shareholder of Box USA, which he founded in 1966. The company was built primarily through the acquisition of financially troubled competitors, many in Chapter 11. When sold to International Paper in 2004, Box USA was then the Nation’s largest independent producer of corrugated shipping containers operating 22 corrugated packaging facilities and two containerboard mills, all located within the continental United States.

Mr. Mehiel is also the former Chairman, CEO, and Principal Shareholder of Sweetheart Cup Company, North America’s largest producer of disposable table top products for the away-from-home dining market. The company was acquired by its principal competitor, Solo Cup Company in 2004. Sweetheart was rescued from insolvency when acquired by Mr. Mehiel in 1998. During the course of his career Mr. Mehiel has been instrumental in creating or saving thousands of U.S. based manufacturing jobs. He has long experience in the Public Debt Markets through which his enterprises have typically been capitalized.

Mr. Mehiel has long been active in New York State political life. He served for 12 years as a member of the Democratic National Committee and is a former Chairman of the Westchester County Democratic Committee. For eight years he served as an Officer and Director of the New York League of Conservation Voters. He was the New York State Chair of the Kerry Presidential Campaign in 2004 and was the Democratic Nominee for Lt. Governor in 2002.

4 Comments

  1. Sadly this development adds another name to the long list of prominent individuals who have been appointed by the leadership of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese as “window-dressing” to investigate problems that the leadership has no intention of really addressing.

    Mr. Psaros was brought in to solve the financial mess at the Archdiocese and he recently resigned from his post. Now, Mr. Mehiel resigns when it becomes apparent that his “investigative committee” did not receive the support he believed was required in order for it to do its job. In the recent past, a distinguished Illinois attorney was appointed to head up a “Monastery Investigation” Committee, and the Archbishop and Metropolitans who voted to create the committee refused to cooperate and its report was suppressed.

    The time seems to be fast approaching when the Archdiocese will run out of prominent people to appoint only to have them resign when they discover that they aren’t really supposed to do an effective job. It also appears that it is fast running out of prominent and wealthy donors willing to bail it out of financial mismanagement and budgets that have apparently been works of fiction.

    Not to worry. It’s August. Everyone’s going to Greece for their vacations.

  2. Can a patient with cancer be saved if the doctor is forbidden to IDENTIFY AND/OR REMOVE the cancer? Better yet, how can ANYTHING be accomplished if the doctor is receiving orders from the CANCER ITSELF?… Prove Me Wrong…

  3. I hope The Herald will have an opportunity to interview Mr. Mehiel to further show the dysfunction of the GOA. If a company ran this way, it would be out of business. It happened before and was pretty successful: Parishes should put their assessments in an escrow account until true transparency is realized. Hitting the pocketbook is the only language that will be understood.

  4. Both comments above are essentially correct. But this time, the scammers have run out of time, money, and suckers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see many of them flee to remote parts of Greece, one step ahead of US law. The archdiocese will be sold by court appointed receivers and we can be done with them all, once and for all. They can take their Archons of Nothing, Leaderless 100, FAITHless nonsense with them. Giddy up, boys.

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