Former Members of the Holy Trinity Parish Council Speak Out

Pictured is the blessed memory Metropolitan Iakovos observing the architectural model of the church and the school in Deerfield at the Socrates School Centennial (2008). Foto: Furla Studio

Paid Submission

Dear Mr. Kalmoukos,

After reading your interview with Fathers Jonas and Kaloudis of Holy Trinity Chicago, we feel compelled to reply. Miraculously, it appears that someone has interceded at the 11th hour to save Holy Trinity, and we are all truly grateful for that. However, we also feel it is important that the community understands how the situation became so grave in the first place. We were all members of the HT Parish Council (PC) at the time the community acquired the Deerfield property and have firsthand knowledge of what transpired between Holy Trinity (HT) and The Hellenic American Academy (HAA).

Changing demographics and declining church attendance led to a decision to relocate the Parish. The Deerfield property was purchased with approval of the PC, General Assembly and Metropolis. Some insist Deerfield was purchased solely for the school, yet the church hired a realtor and negotiated to sell the church and school buildings.* An architectural model revealed at the Socrates School Centennial clearly shows a church on the Deerfield site.*

Another falsehood is that $12 million was borrowed by HAA against the church. The church took out a loan to purchase Deerfield, using its properties as collateral. The loan was refinanced through a low interest bond purchase for educational institutions by MB Financial so the loan was transferred to HAA and guaranteed by the HT properties, just like the original loan. $12 million in bonds were available, however only $6 million was borrowed. The agreement between HT and HAA allowed HAA to use Deerfield for 10 years with no obligation to make rent or loan payments.* Despite this, HAA paid $2,500,000 toward the loan. Each side happily contributed what it could, because while we were separate legal entities on paper, we were one united community.

As part of the plan Fr. Kaloudis asked us to hire a young, bilingual Priest, with whom he would work for two years, preparing him to become Proistamenos. The Metropolis assigned Fr. Sotirios Malamis, who was ordained to the Priesthood at Holy Trinity. Fr. Sotiri’s addition created a sense of hope that the Parish was one step closer to fulfilling its plans. Enrollment at the school was increasing. We began Sunday Liturgy in Deerfield, and many former parishioners began attending. There was a sense of renewed interest and optimism.

Under the leadership of Jim Logothetis, both church and school were “in the black”, disproving the theory that this venture was not financially feasible. With things going so well, what happened to bring us to the troubled state in which we find ourselves today? Very simply, Fr. Kaloudis decided that he would not allow Father Malamis to become Proistamenos, and with a small faction decided that the church would not move. While they had every right to change their minds, those decisions had consequences leading to the loss of Fr. Malamis. After waiting five years, instead of the two he was promised, the Metropolis reassigned him to a nearby Parish that had recently opened a day school, and many families followed him there. This was a massive failure of Hierarchical leadership.

Fr. Malamis’ departure and the circumstances around it created doubt and uncertainty. Enthusiasm and support declined, as did enrollment, reducing tuition revenue, placing the school in a perilous financial position, unable to contribute toward the mortgage. The church refused to fulfill its obligation to make payments and rejected settlement proposals, leading to the current, avoidable, situation.

The current PC, rejected offers that provided a viable path toward saving the church. One offer, endorsed by the Metropolis, was to divide the loan, with HAA assuming 2/3 and HT 1/3.* More recently, the Foundation for Hellenic Education and Culture (FHEC) offered to buy the Deerfield property from HT for $4 million to allow the Academy to stay there. Unfortunately, the PC gambled on a $5.4 million offer from a developer (Gilbane) that was contingent on re-zoning. The Parish Council with the approval of the Metropolis Council, evicted 300 students and 35 teachers in the middle of a school year, to cause maximum disruption. By the Grace of God, FHEC purchased a nearby building and the school relocated over Christmas break. Gilbane was not able to secure re-zoning as everyone, except the HT PC, had predicted and withdrew its offer. The Academy had moved, and no longer needed nor had the ability to purchase Deerfield. Based on this, we are particularly disturbed by Fr. Jonas’ statement suggesting Academy members sabotaged the deal so that the Academy could buy the property at a low price. Fr. Jonas also states that HAA President, Jim Logothetis refused an invitation to meet with HT President, Stanley Andreakis. This meeting was only requested after a lawsuit against Mr. Logothetis had been filed, and his attorneys advised him against such a meeting.

This lawsuit against HAA and Mr. Logothetis is particularly disturbing because of the horrible message it sends. Who, in their right mind, will step up and lead, knowing some future group can accuse them of wrongdoing, slander their good name and expose them to a massive financial loss? We will be left with churches filled with well-intentioned people who will never have the fortitude to make ambitious plans, to take a measured risk, or to act in moving the church forward. If Chicago’s Greek community had acted this way in the past, they would have never undertaken the financial burden to build churches and schools.

The lawsuit alleges Mr. Logothetis had a conflict of interest in presiding over both the PC and HAA Board. If Mr. Logothetis had a conflict in serving both institutions, wouldn’t the one attorney who represented both sides, Constantine Kaloudis, also be conflicted? There was no conflict. We were one united community with a common, ambitious goal. The conflicts arose when the plan was abruptly and unilaterally altered.

It is regrettable that it has come to this, especially since this was avoidable. We pray that no other Parish will ever have to experience such a trauma.

*for more information and supporting documentation, please visit www.HolyTrinityDeerfieldTruth.org.

Sincerely,

James Anton
Dr. Steve Ballis
Demetrios Demos
Steve Gianos
John Giourdas
Vasilios Karahalios
Dr. Spiro Karras
Georgia Plevritis
Antonios Samiotakis
George Tsakanikas
Sotirios Vergakis
Steve Vrettos

41 Comments

  1. Holy Trinity celebrates and all the twelve of you can think about is advancing your narrative. Your story is so questionable the herald wont even publish it, forcing you to purchase the space as an advertisement. Your oft repeated lies do not create truth, only propaganda. The only value this advertisement serves is to provide the names of the scoundrels involved. At least eleven of them anyway, apparently your group was able to acquire a signature from the grave.

    1. Excuse me, but all of these FACTS are supported with documents, which are attached. Clearly this was sent in for publication prior to the church being saved. The community ought to know the truth and who better to share it than those who were present every step of the way, and who dearly served and supported the church for half their lives? Scoundrels? You make me sick.

    2. Yianni, the comments that were published in the Kaloudis and Jonas interview were wreckless and false. Kaloudis mentions most of the parishioners moved away from the area, he stated 75-100 paying stewards. If the church gets saved, how does it even survive with only 100 stewards?

      It’s an embarrassment that the current PC, Priests and Arch Diocese named a person in their lawsuit who devoted his life and own money to not just this church, but the Chicago Metropolis and several Hellenic Foundations.

      Kaloudis makes a coy comment that “only the treasurer knows the amount owed to the Bank”. What Prostamenos doesn’t know how much debt exactly is owed?

      At the end of the day, yes it’s a sad situation that one of the oldest churches is in this situation, especially when it was built by 2 or more generations ago by people who didn’t have much. However, the demographics of the area has changed and it doesn’t make sense to keep it afloat. Churches can’t survive with poor stewardship and attendance.

    3. Yianni, really, dead? He is very much alive. Shame on you for making false statements.

      Our statement was a response to set the record straight and offer the objective evidence that everyone had been asking for. Why is it wrong to offer such response to put closure to all the questions and correct the misinformation that been floating around and being negligently repeated.

      Criticize and be dismissive all you want, but the true facts are there for you and others to finally can move on.

  2. Yianni, we all celebrate with Holy Trinity, but the community deserves to know how we got here. The limited space allowed by the National Herald for a direct response was insufficient for the necessary length of this post, so THEY requested a paid submission. We believe the documentation provided supports our statement.
    By the way, enlighten us….who among us is deceased?

  3. The twelve bird brains responsible for this mess. Shame on all of you! There were elderly crying at Holy Trinity on the 13th, fearing their spiritual home was lost. Guardian Angels donated $2 million to help the church at the last minute and the only thing you twelve pharisees can do is worry about your egos and reputations. You have only brought shame upon yourselves.

    1. Sorry Onassis, we twelve were not responsible for the mess, so we have nothing to be ashamed of. We have all given money, time, sweat and tears to Holy Trinity. The current parish council made terrible decisions. The community deserves to know the truth. Did you bother reading the supporting documents in the link at the end of the article? Have you seen Fr. Jonas’ Facebook post this morning where he states the church has NOT, in fact, been saved YET! There was no $2 million dollar donation….more misinformation. It seems there is an offer to the bank to try and work out a solution…..we pray it does work out. Let’s hope it’s at least as good as the offers the Parish Council previously rejected.

  4. The twelve bird brains responsible for this mess. Shame on all of you! There were elderly crying at Holy Trinity on the 13th, fearing their spiritual home was lost. Guardian Angels donated $2 million to help the church at the last minute and the only thing you twelve pharisees can do is worry about your egos and reputations. You have only brought shame upon yourselves.

    1. The fact that a generous benefactor stepped in at the last minute does not excuse the neglect and incompetence that brought the Church to this sad state to begin with. A full accounting must be made and the scoundrels punishes. I applaud these brave parish council members who put their names out there publicly to speak truth. It sounds like the old priest screwed up this situation by vetoing at the last minute a planned geographic move the Church badly needed.

    2. In the recent statement by Fr. Jonas that there wasn’t a donation but an offer by a foundation that wants to remain anonymous, and this has only given them the gift of time. The church has not been saved.

      There still are challenges but hope they get the approval from the bank of the offer comes soon.

  5. Having grown up at Holy Trinity, attended Socrates, having numerous family sacraments at this blessed church, nothing breaks my heart more than the public fissures created over the last six years. In the 1990s as the stewards/parishioners and general Greek community left the area (including my family) at this time. A few like mind, continued to be members at Holy Trinity and faithfully attended every Sunday. However, at the same time, the majority of those who moved either went elsewhere or were slowly disconnected from the church. Faithfully so, this Parish Council, as other Parish Councils of Chicago churches dealing with similar challenges, charted out a Strategic Plan, not rooted in emotion, but in a fact-based, strategic direction for the community. Their vision and strategy was endorsed by the Parish Council, the Proistamenos, and Metropolis. New life had been breathed into our community as we saw our neglected school and families re-fill the halls of Deerfield.

    Unfortunately, as key milestones of the signed-off plan approached, our Proistamenos, who had agreed to retire, strategy gave way to emotion. Statements like “let’s get rid of Malamis so we can save more money,” complemented by calling a hastily arranged and raucous Parish Assembly with non-paying members being given the ability to attend, not to mention evicting 300+ children from a Greek school led us to this place.

    The Parish Council members above represent those who grew-up at HT and Socrates, saw the future, adopted best practice of developing a strategic plan endorsed at all levels. I admittedly was an excited parishioner and in retrospect, wish I could have done more myself, but was happy to have these leaders. Even when they were effectively shut-out of the church, they kept reaching out and seeking reconciliation and a plan forward, but unfortunately, those who I had loved in the past, owning the true Byzantine-style power, shut them out, shut the children out, and kicked out our future in many senses (Father Malamis, the children, and the majority of its membership).

    I pray that a brave leader comes out of the ashes of HT to bridge this divide. Make no mistake, a mysterious $2m bailout is not a solution and will not make the church solvent. Rather it kicks the can down the road. The $2m was secured through the “a rich Greek or two.” This is the old way of doing things and not sustainable as evidenced by the recent crisis with our GOA. The GOC of America became insolvent as soon as these bailout professionals passed away. The church, as it hasn’t in the last six years, has no leadership ready to grow its membership, revenues or strategic path forward. As a their new Proistamenos and a second chance at redeeming himself from SS Constantine and Helen, Father Jonas has a chance to become this bridge as his peers from other churches are now understanding the criticality of a strategic plan. The goodness and heart of these former Parish Council members will allow for reconciliation and will assist. Will Father Jonas be the leader we need?

    I pray for reconciliation and reconstitution of our community and pray for both sides.

    1. I believe you are “spot on” in your factual presentation and the observation that it is really just “kicking the can down the road”. First of all, I personally do not believe that there are people of financial substance behind the alleged $2,000,000.00 donation. I think it is a cloud of dust meant to buy time with the Parishioners at the Parish. In other words, there is no real “Angel(s)” writing checks. Only the filing of a bankruptcy petition was used to delay the inevitable. The Bank would need at least $3,000,000.00 to release this Parish Church property held as collateral from the control of the Bank. So personally I believe that our Faithful are being cruelly manipulated by the existing leadership team at Holy Trinity. To what end?

  6. Of concern is not how we got here but that we are here because of bad financial and spiritual leadership. We need to proceed with new leadership.

  7. The church is viable at its current location contrary to what the north shore snobs have been saying. Fr Jonas has added a new energy to the church. Whats needed is a new outreach and more creative fundraising.

    1. This is not about the church’s viability under its current Pastor, Fr. Jonas. It is about the poor decisions of the current parish council that rejected viable options to save the church. They have just spent the last week bashing the bank publicly, on TV, and are now hoping for sympathy from the bank with whatever offer the “guardian angels” have proposed.

    2. Thank you for your enlightening comment. Last time I checked, only a couple of people on this list live on the North Shore (although irrelevant). If you actually knew them personally and didn’t pass judgement, you would realize that they are not “snobs.” What the world needs is more anonymous cowards hiding behind their computer screens at home.

      1. repanidi1918, yes. Many Russian, Serbian, Ukrainian churches are without pews and require their faithful to stand. Some where the men stand on one side and women on the opposite.

  8. The paid advertisement is a weak attempt to support an unwinnable position and to find a scapegoat for the financial disaster that occurred. The advert contains malicious and inaccurate statements. At least one person, and possibly many more, have admitted that they never gave authority to place their name or publish such statements, and that those responsible for publishing the advert were aware of the lack of authority. The credibility of the advert is highly questionable for that fact alone.

    Aside from that, its content, and the lack of documents which should have been included but were not, are testament to the false implications it makes. All those who purportedly signed the letter know full well that to relocate the Parish, approval of 3 bodies is required: (1) the approval of the Parish Council, then (2) the approval of the Parish’s General Assembly and finally (3) the approval of our Metropolis. A failure to attach a documents which establishes the approval of any of these bodies should be enough to conclude that no such decision was made. I’ve stated in the past and state again here that the Parish and the community as a whole contemplated the possibility of a move to Deerfield – and of course any contemplation has many moving parts that need to be secured. Merely entertaining a possibility does not required approval of any of the above mentioned bodies.

    The advertisement also suggests that a “small faction” of people overcame a prior decision to relocate the Parish. Such a suggestion is inherently absurd. No “faction” smaller than a majority could have reversed a decision to relocate the Parish.

    Regarding the “letter of intent” referred to in the advert – In 2007 the Parish was approached by a group of Evangelists who wanted to make an offer to purchase. The Parish Counsel needed no formal decision to entertain an offer and wished to explore the possibility, knowing full well that if terms were acceptable, such terms would still need the approval of the 3 above mentioned bodies. The “letter of intent” referred to is nothing more than an agreement to explore such terms; it clearly states that no agreement to sell exists. What the advertisement fails to mention is that the negotiations with the Evangelists never even got past the 1st step (i.e. approval of the Parish Counsel). In fact, the Parish Counsel, including Mr. Logothetis himself, and all those who names appear on the advertisement and voted, unanimously voted to reject the offer.

    The 2008 Parish Transition Project was the closest thing to a plan to move the church. It included fundraising projections of $4 million between 2008 through 2014 which would be raised from the gala, fest, raffle, and other programs. Based on 2012 actual financials, the fundraising was short by between 27% to 60% each year and in 2012 the 2013 and 2014 budgets were decreased by 50%. The fundraising was simply not successful, making a potential move by the church very difficult. Some wanted the church to be sold to pay down debt and when the church refused it was unfairly labeled as changing its mind. The fundraising failure could also be seen as a failure of the community at large in supporting the “plan”.

    Despite the advertisement’s poor effort to distract, the core question remains whether a decision to move the Parish ever existed. If it did, then the members of the Parish can simply state that a vote was taken and passed (in which case meeting minutes would exist) and then post the relevant meeting minutes. But nobody has come forward and made any such statement.

    As for the Resolution posted by the advertisement, a dispute arose between the Parish and Academy as to its meaning. That dispute was resolved in a 41 page Federal Court transcript and decision –something that can be objectively verified by anyone. Whether the Parish (and its Philoptochos and Fr. Kaloudis’ efforts) provided the Academy with well over $200,000 in yearly support is matter of objectively verifiable information. Whether the fundraising goals fell disastrously short of the 2008 projections is also a matter of objectively verifiable information. Whether the Academy couldn’t raise enough funds to even make the interest payments on the loan, and was instead using the funds borrowed from the bank to make such payments, is also a matter of objectively verifiable information.

    In contrast, to say that financial disaster was caused by Fr. Kaloudis’ failure to step down is matter of pure speculation; based on nothing more than one’s subjective predisposition. Regardless of which side of that argument you take, no objectively verifiable information exits that can support either position. Clearly some wished Fr. Kaloudis to step down, and others did not, and no document or communication exists which sets forth the timing of such an event. You can argue that point until you’re blue in the face and never get anywhere.

  9. The Bill Kaloudis we all know doesn’t write or talk like this, hahahaha.

    Nice fictional comments/post by legal adviser Gus Kaloudis (Rev. Father Kaloudis’ son and Bill’s brother), same guy and legal adviser who put together the documents shared here and who should also be named in any lawsuit with those allegedly conflicted…

  10. Holy Trinity Belieber – Assuming your comments are true, at least my name appears on the statement with my acknowledgement and authority, you know… I mean it wasn’t forged.

    Personal attacks aren’t going to distract anyone from the fact that you can’t provide documents to support your claims or that you can’t form a credible response to the substance of my statements. The personal attacks only confirm that.

    And by the way, the Parish council records reflect that the Academy borrowed $100k from the Parish during Mr. Logothetis’ last term as president of the Parish. The reason for the loan was because the Academy couldn’t make payroll at the end of the school year. Another indication of how “successful” the fundraising was (talk about fiction). The Parish was suppose to get the money back the next year… they’re still waiting.

  11. And it would be insightful, perhaps, for the former Chicago Bishop Demetri (who wanted to be Metropolitan, we all know) to enlighten us about what happened here. He and the late Metropolitan were surely knew about this evolving mess. and helped get it into the scandal it is now. But I guess he is too busy enjoying his all-expenses paid (by us) full sabbatical and apparently trying to repair his image with the EP to respond.

    1. You mean the sabbatical that was supposed to last one year but is ongoing because neither the Patriarchate nor the Archdiocese know what to do with the bishop?

  12. Bill, All,

    While first off, I cannot fault Bill (or if it is Gus too) for being faithful to their family or father, what I can state from what I hope to be a “neutral” view of a “typical parishioner” at Holy Trinity is that atrophy had started to set in in the late 90s and what had made sense as a leadership and cultural style at the church for decades before that no longer made sense. Having a “loveable” priest and the absence of substantial ministries was no longer a recipe that would contribute to the long-term sustainability of the church or community. The fact we have under 100 paying members today is indicative of the dire position we are in.

    This void of Father K’s leadership was filled in by the Parish Council and a strategic roadmap against which we said progressive agreements mostly documented on endorsed paper as well as directly inferred from future milestones on the roadmap. A roadmap is just that and just like any project…15-years worth of eventually needed tactical bureaucracy, including “signoffs at all levels” cannot be handled all up-front. All due diligence was done at the right time and faithfully so from the documents made public (not to mention that the typical discourse within the parish was aware of the progression and eventual move). Of course, when an endorsed financial model and progression to the end-state vision is stopped in its tracks 2/3 of the way into the journey by someone who wanted to hold on to the past at the peril of our futures, it’s easy to point to what seems to be red herrings. The tick-tack-toe around “documents” and “process” are an easy excuse to avoid our existential future.

    Make no mistake, all our friends and their kids have left the church as there is no plan, vision or charismatic leader left. You look around the Chicago Metropolis and there are few churches in our situation now. When HT is no more either in a few days, months or if we can scrape by for another year or two, we will have nowhere to look to but the inexplicable stopping of our vision and growth strategy by a “leader” who could have used his influence to get us to the finish line.

    I grew up at Socrates loving Father K, Kyrio Politi, and who we were. It was through this network I met Jim Logothetis and through the urging of Father K, he mentioned how he had helped many, including his own kid get their first job, provide career mentorship, and give of himself way more than anyone around. It seems like the height of typical Greek treachery to single him out in favor of the entire decision-making body. Why wasn’t the whole Parish Council named? Why wasn’t Gus named? Father K? All were part of the same decision-making organ.

    I don’t expect any response to this but hope this is food for thought and the POV of an existing and torn parishioner who is hanging on by a thread.

  13. Mr. Kyriazes – The advertisement and the Academy’s narrative during the past few years have been that everything was going great until the Parish changed its mind about moving the church. This is untrue and the basis of a smear campaign against the Parish for the past several years. By stating “when an endorsed financial model and progression to the end-state vision is stopped in its tracks 2/3 of the way into the journey by someone who wanted to hold on to the past at the peril of our futures, it’s easy to point to what seems to be red herrings.” you are clearly advancing the narrative and taking 2 positions with which I fundamentally disagree: (1) you claim the plan was 2/3 on track, whereas I claim that train had detailed shortly after leaving the station, and (2) by claiming a “red herring” you accept as true the personal attacks directed against Fr. Kaloudis and discount that the funding failure played any role in decisions.

    You’re free to believe that the vision included a scenario where the Parish would be sold for the sole purpose of paying debt, and then to indefinitely operate a Parish from a school cafeteria. You’re also free to believe that “leader’s” great influence could have eventually saved the plan – as completely speculative as such belief may be. But as food for thought, if a ‘leader” has such great influence then wouldn’t it stand to reason that support for the “financial model and progressions” should not have failed so miserably?

    And yes, Fr. Kaloudis and Mr. Logothetis were close at one time. Yes, Fr. Kaloudis spoke highly of Mr. Logothetis at one time, as I’m sure Mr. Logothetis spoke of Fr. Kaloudis. It’s true he introduced my sister to her first boss 20+ years ago, as it also true that Mr. Logothetis received certain personal benefits from Fr. Kaloudis. The reason you raised these matters is not lost on anyone, but I think it’s both unnecessary and in bad taste to elaborate on them. As everyone is aware, that relationship drastically changed.

    I’m not on the parish council so I can’t speak to their decision to sue Mr. Logothetis. But it’s clear that “influence” is being used to intensify the years long smear campaign against Fr. Kaloudis in an attempt to put pressure on the parish to drop the law suit. People, as yourself, will believe what they wish to believe. I can tell you however that this smear campaign has not phased the “lovable” priest at all – “Ο Θεός είναι δίκαιος.”

    Finally, HT is certainly not in a good place right now. I appreciate that many former HT members are saddened by that fact, and that people hold a certain degree of loyalty to the Parish they either grew up in or were members of for years. But being raised in a priest’s house, I am also very aware that our Lord’s presence is no greater in one Parish than it is in another. Those who wish to support HT at its location will do so, those who wish to establish a new parish in Deerfield are still free to use their influence to do so.

    1. It is a disappointing.

      It sounds like all you are at fault.
      Everyone should mortgage out their homes; or go take a 2nd loan.

      Stop playing the blame game.
      Act like responsible adults.

  14. All youz People are responsible.
    Take responsibility mortgage out your homes.
    Or take a 2nd mortgage.
    Don’t play the blame game.

  15. Can someone familiar with the facts regarding HT please explain why the property in Deerfield is empty and not being leased to possibly another school and then put on the market for sale? Have the values up north dropped that significantly since the purchase where it has minimal equity relative to the outstanding debt? The transactions discussed seem like they were proposed years ago and don’t reflect the near term.

    1. The property is empty because the heartless church Parish Council and “lovable” clergy at dysfunctional Holy Trinity, as well as the Metropolis, evicted the school from it 2 years ago. Very Christian-like… then the offer to buy the property, made by a developer, fell through as they were unable to obtain zoning for apartment complex they wanted to build on it. Had the church accepted a previous offer from the school they evicted, which was only slightly less than the developer’s offer, they would not be in this situation they are in today… the school no longer has a need for the building as they are in a new location. Go figure, guess the church that teaches us not to be greedy, is just that, greedy.

  16. Eleni C- that really doesn’t answer the question proposed as far as getting possibly another buyer for the property up north or a lease for another type of school. The moving of HA happened years ago and I was wondering if other recent opportunities to sale the property exist. Has the current parish council exhausted all options with the asset in Deerfield to avoid foreclosure in Chicago? I would expect the property to have some value and increased in price but again not privy to all the details. Its a real shame that educated and rational Christian adults can’t compromise and look ahead for the well being of a historic church. What’s done is done and sometimes we have to all swallow our pride and move on. Stop playing the blame game and figure it out even if it means not getting the best deal for yourselves. Reading about ex parish presidents getting sued, church protests to MB Financial, and all this drama has become an embarrassment to the Chicago/Greek community.

    1. Lefty – It sure has, and the Metropolitan has done little to nothing to ensure this avoidable situation was avoided. Shame-blame-game, call it whatever you want, but without true leadership, accountability and transparency from the Metropolis, then who is going to prevent a priest who was able to unilaterally force out another priest, their family members who think they own the parish, and a uncontrollable parish council from destroying another parish again in the future?

      Our community needs more people like the 12 former parish council members above to lead with the truth, so we can learn and move forward. The key unresolved question however, why would any of these 12 risk leading parishes in the future, if they can potentially be wrongfully sued by the one they serve, in the future?

      1. Lefty, a direct answer on the Deerfield property question: First of all, the reason the bank went after the Church property in Chicago is because the multiple failed attempts by the bank to collect any revenue from the failed sales attempts of the Deerfield property due to strict zoning issues and opposition of the current neighbors.

        The choices the current board made, or should I say risks they took, by not accepting the Academy’s $4.5M offer PLUS land rights for 10 years for the Church to come and build on the Deerfield property without any contingencies or zoning issues, and gambling it on the $5.4M offer from the developer which was contingent on zoning caused the property value to drop enormously. Another offer came through from another source at $3.2M and they bailed. Bank realized they will never see the money waiting on it to sell they moved to go after the cross collateralized property in Chicago. As of know the property value of the Deerfield has been deflated to $2.4M due to special use zoning restrictions. I hear there is an offer on that amount.

        Again, another FUBAR by the current board, yet they sit on the board while a lawsuit still is out on the past Board member that had nothing to do with their poor choices.

        Sad to say the least. The one person who could have rallied enough support to save their butts has his hands tied in litigation and is unable to assist.

        Their plan to extort for greed has backfired. Isn’t karma a b!t©η?

  17. The current Bishop inherited this mess so to his defense has minimal flexibility to resolve a major problem between current and former leaders of HT. It’s my understanding he has been involved and also hired a mediator. My questions again relate to the current asset in Deerfield and its value to help pay down the note.

    1. Inheriting a mess is a convenient excuse.
      The Metropolitan has known about it from the beginning of his tenure and a mediator produced zero results, what did he do next? He allowed a frivolous lawsuit to be filed. Does the current Metropolitan not have authority to intervene and stop a frivolous lawsuit from being filed? Since when does the Metropolis not have control or authority over its priests and parish coucils? Is he perhaps in on it and also seeking extortion money? What is the purpose of the Metropolis? Stop and think when the last time a church was allowed to sue a former parish council member? Unprecentended. Participate in the church at your own risk Lefty.

      All the above are better questions to be asking than the value of a property the bank effectively now owns… SMH

  18. Bold statement questioning a new bishop about possibly accepting extortion money with this pending lawsuit. Your bitterness towards the new parish and current regime is obvious. I think it’s this division and anger from both sides that probably has contributed to the current situation. It might be justified but again not really productive when a church you care about might be closing its doors. Reading posts, articles, and talking to various people concludes there was a large gap in what the old parish and current parish planned for the future. Walking away from a large debt, protesting a bank on television, suing a parish council member, shows that egos got in the way and turned this into a debacle. It’s strange how educated Drs, CPAs, and attorneys who make up parish council teams can put the church in a position where it’s at risk of insolvency no other solutions are available.

    1. Lefty, simply put the 12 and many others whom have distanced themselves and are afraid they also too may be sued left when new paradigm was created many years after the initial goals were created, met, and “personal” issues of 1 got dragged into God’s house.

      The 12 named wanted to clear the air of all misinformation and negligent claims being made in order to put closure to this sad situation so a rebuilding process of trust and unity could begin.

      25 souls dedicated time, talent, and treasure but it only took 1 to destroy everything and trashed all progress made over the decades.

      You may want to point fingers and it is easier done from the outside, but the 12 being slammed here are ones who still supported the Church despite the criticism and backstabbing.

      When is it enough? When they attempt to discredit you publicly, privately, among colleagues, patriotes, whatever. I, as many others left the board because the ones coming in had nothing vested and disrespected everyone whom pour their hearts in efforts to save our community.

      I left because numerous opportunities to resolve financial issues were ignored by the new board members. While the older ones whom had left and “some” who had remained constantly were working hard to find solutions, there was sabotaging within that forced us to completely disassociate with the ones trying to destroy everything and everyone involved. Would you remain in such cancerous environment?

      I will not apologize for loving my community. I will not apologize for bringing the truth forward. I am STILL fighting this war for almost 4 years after my 17 years on the Board, 45 years as part of this community.

      Church had opportunities to be in much better position if the new board had put aside their biased egos and make the sacrifices we 12 and other made, beginning with our ancestors.

      Nobody asked me why I am still fighting? Because HT is part of my family’s legacy. I took an oath to serve the faithful. I believe it is worth fighting for. The truth must be known and respected. No individual should be sued for doing good for the entire Greek Orthodox community at large. I want misinformation and lies to be stopped so people who can save the community will. The reasons go on… can you and others understand that?

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