Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Archbankruptcy going back to mediation

Victims’ attorneys want their money now the Milwaukee Catholic Herald reported last week. More specifically, in a motion filed July 11th,
"Attorneys for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, which includes victims of sexual abuse by priests, are asking for interim payment of fees and reimbursement of expenses to themselves and professionals they have hired to represent the committee in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s Chapter 11 reorganization."
Apparently at least party as a result, the Associated Press reported today in the Wisconsin Law Journal, Archdiocese bankruptcy case sent to mediation.
"The archdiocese told Kelley in January 2013 that its monthly expenses typically totaled $1.5 million to $2 million. It asked her to halt payments to its attorneys and those representing sexual abuse victims and other creditors so that it could keep roughly $2 million on hand and avoid cash flow problems. Kelley agreed.

"But in a motion filed last month, victims’ attorneys said the archdiocese’s bank accounts regularly contain more money than the archdiocese predicted. They accused the archdiocese of withholding payment in order to pressure them into agreeing to its bankruptcy reorganization plan."
There's another factor.
"A separate, but related lawsuit over the cemetery trust fund is pending before the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, which heard arguments in June. It’s not clear when it might rule. Kelley had put the archdiocese’s bankruptcy case on hold until that lawsuit was resolved because the outcome could affect the archdiocese’s finances.

"The cemetery trust fund will be a key focus on the mediation, which is expected to begin in September."
That is looking like a busy month. As the Parish Leader Update for August 2014 notes,
"On Sunday, September 14, 2014, Archbishop Jerome Listecki will issue a Synodal declaration which will promulgate the future direction for the diocese that was recommended at the Synod this past June."
UPDATE: Also at today's hearing, Bankruptcy judge orders Milwaukee Archdiocese to pay attorney fees, Bruce Vielmetti reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"The Archdiocese of Milwaukee must come up with $1.35 million to pay lawyers involved in its ongoing bankruptcy case, at least a portion of the many more millions they're owed... ."
"She [U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley] ordered the $1.35 million be distributed pro rata to all those who file fee applications by mid-August, for services through July. Because the payments will likely work out to less than 20% of billings, she said the fees should be paid based on the application, and that any objections to fees be postponed until later."

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