NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - We’re learning new information about the Archdiocese of New Orleans bankruptcy case.
According to a May meeting of creditors, the Vicar of Finance, Father Patrick Carr, was asked about the church’s recent Chapter 11 filing.
An attorney representing the creditors’ committee asked Carr “if the Archdiocese was not in bankruptcy, would it be solvent,?” Carr responded “yes.” The attorney then asked, “so it is solvent outside of the bankruptcy process and it is solvent given the possible outcome of the bankruptcy process?” Carr again responded “yes.”
“That’s the thing, they have to meet certain thresholds to be able to get the benefit of being able to throw their hands up at chapter 11. They want to do what the church does, to stop the discovery process, among other things, they want to also, to get a finite amount of people to sue them and they have a finite pie which can be cut up to give to those people, that’s what they want out of bankruptcy court,” said Fox 8 Legal Analyst, Joe Raspanti.
There were also questions at the meeting about church transparency. An attorney representing survivors of clergy abuse asked, “do you agree that the disclosure of documents in the possession of the Archdiocese dealing with clergy abuse would go towards the healing of victim survivors throughout this reorganization and bankruptcy?” Carr responded, “maybe.”
We're also learning new information about how much the Archdiocese of New Orleans is paying in legal fees, according to federal court documents, the church paid the law firm Jones Walker nearly $2 million just in the 90 days immediately preceding the petition date.
“The church is in a difficult position every Sunday, they display the gold chalices in churches all across the Archdiocese, we look at the big buildings, we put the money in the basket, we know about everything they have and for them to come in and poor mouth it, may be a little difficult, that’s what these hearings are about, the plaintiff’s want to get as much of that out as possible and in front of the judge but in the bigger picture in front of the people who may get a chance to decide if it goes back to state court,” said Raspanti.
We reached out to the Archdiocese of New Orleans about this story. In a statement, the church said: “The Archdiocese of New Orleans has publicly stated the reasons for filing for Chapter 11 reorganization. More information about the Reorganization can be found online at https://nolacatholic.org/renew. Archdiocesan leadership and representatives do not think it appropriate to discuss or comment on matters of pending litigation outside of court.”