When two high priests of corruption and incompetence, Cuomo and Karloutsos, meet, the real outcome is bound to have very little to do with neither Saint Nicholas nor morality: It is all about covering up Karloutsos’ big legal problems, as he is pursued by the Feds… In the end it’s all about money, “the mother’s milk of politics”… As for Governor Cuomo, what else do we expect from the politician who even today “does not know” who Joe Percoco really was?

By Nick Stamatakis

Today’s meeting and following announcement by GOARCH about the re-start of building St.Nicholas at Ground Zero, would normally have made all of us, faithful followers of the Greek Orthodox Church, very happy as we have been waiting for a long two years since the time construction stopped. In a few words it was announced that the already formed 13-member committee (13 is the only friends they have left and 13 is a bad luck number!) of the Friends of St.Nicholas will “raise money for the re-building of St. Nicholas; fund the re-building of St. Nicholas; oversee construction of St. Nicholas; and conduct appropriate audits”.

The committee is chaired by Dennis Mehiel, a democratic donor closely related to governor Cuomo (as well as Karloutsos), while vice chairman will be Michael Psaros, closely related to Karloutsos.  Archbishop Elpidophoros will be the honorary chairman, while Fr.Karloutsos will serve as a “spiritual advisor”.  Several well-known rich friends of Fr.Karloutsos will all be members (John Catsimatidis, Maria Allwin, John Kalamos, Chrysa Demos, George Mihaltses, John Payiavlas, Dean Spanos, George Stamboulidis).  Richard Browne will serve as the COO of construction…

Let me first note that the repetition in the above statement about fundraising (“will raise money… and… will fund”) is very significant and certainly means that some or all of the committee members will use their deep pockets to fund the project.  All real fundraising efforts – including the recent event at Carnegie Hall which proved to be a bust – have produced next to nothing.  Let’s also not forget the statement by John Catsimatides in April 27, 2019 that “If the Archdiocese is in charge, they’re not giving the money”, meaning that donors will not participate because they have lost trust in the Archdiocese… What has changed to make him and other donors pledge donations and support? Catsimatidis gives the obvious – but hardly believable – answer in today’s report at the NY Post: “The people who give to the church had lost confidence. The new church administration has given us confidence and the money is now available…”  In fact, Catsimatidis explains that the $40 million needed for the project has already been raised – but he does not bother to explain how… Good-bye once again to transparency and accountability… But could anyone explain to us how come the new committee starts action while the investigation about the past frauds is still going on?  How is this possible?  With its “spiritual advisor” under investigation?

Not only the present but the past fundraising and expenses are not completely accounted for as we are left with the “less than forthcoming” – to put it mildly – report by PWC (you can see it here: PWC REPORT ON ST NICHOLAS GROUND ZERO).   This report will be thoroughly analyzed and exposed by facts provided by the whistleblower who gave all the information to the Feds… And yes, it was not the Archdiocese itself who “checked its own practices” – this was a laughable statement.  The whole truth will be revealed in the days and weeks to come – stay tuned…  In the meantime, we are still waiting to hear how much of a commission was pocketed by Father Alex out of the $38 million that were raised.  Is it 15% as it is said? And why does he not reveal the real numbers?

Also, what will be the final nature of the “Shrine”? Will it be open to all religions as some allege?  As far as the “separation of church and state”, today’s meeting is foolproof evidence that such a separation is not practiced in the State of New York…

Further, nobody has bothered to answer the even more burdensome questions: How come the budget for St.Nicholas ballooned to over $80 million, for a building fairly small, smaller than most churches in the U.S. (3700 square feet and just 36 feet tall).  Who are we kidding? If we are to pay $22,000 per square foot for St.Nicholas, it would be cheaper to make it out of 16 karat gold!! And who is going to account for the millions that went to the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a payback for the Ukrainian Autocephaly, according to the expert research of James Giatras?

The short answer to the above questions is that the federal prosecutors (who gave plea bargain deals to Papadakos and Demetriou) will answer the questions, and the appropriate answer should certainly be the arrest of Fr. Karloutsos and his indictment.  The generations of Greek-Americans, whose sacrifices and generosity have built this Church, deserve answers.  Karloutsos refuses to give them voluntarily, and so, he will have to give them by force… One has to just take a look at how “aged” Fr.Karloutsos appears in certain photos of today’s meeting, in order to realize how much pressure he is under.  The prosecutors’ noose is tightening by the day and no close ties with the governor of New York will save him of the federal DA’s ax…

As for the rest of today’s, clearly staged, meeting and announcement, one has just to say one name only to truly understand what it was all about.  The name is Joe Percoco.  He was for 20 years Andrew Cuomo’s right-hand man.  He was entering and exiting his office at will, he was accompanying Cuomo everywhere, even in the restroom some tongues say… Yet, when Joe Percoco was arrested and later convicted and sentenced to 6 years in jail (in the fall of 2018), Andrew Cuomo suddenly lost his memory.  He “did not know” who Percoco was… Why was Percoco convicted?  Because he demanded a serious bribe ($300.000) from a private company who wanted a building permit in Manhattan that required N.Y. State authorization… In the allegation, which reads like a Sopranos episode, Percoco was heard in a phone conversation demanding his cash, code-named “his ziti”… (this was the only one crime the DAs were able to fully prove – there have surely been many more…) After all, it is certainly no coincidence that the governor’s brother (and CNN Anchor) Chris Cuomo and Karloutsos’s son, Michael, are both appropriately nicknamed “Fredo”, after the famous “Godfather” character, known for his (…less than stellar) intellect…

(Joe Percoco in the middle of the photo above)

And so, if anyone wonders what was the main goal of the two main figures of yesterday’s meeting, Karloutsos and Cuomo, the answer is as short as it is accurate: “money is the mother’s milk of politics…”

January 2, 2019, n.stamatakis@aol.com





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