By Nick Stamatakis
In a thinly veiled effort to change the very negative climate for the Archdiocese, the leaders of “The Friends of St. Nicholas”, Michael Psarros and Dennis Mehiel, failed to answer most persisting questions regarding the missing funds form the initial account to re-build St.Nicholas and other illegalities surrounding the whole project. Unable to cover their panic and desperation, just three days after the VP of the Archdiocesan Council, John Catsimatidis, essentially committed political suicide in a 7-minute speech in Brooklyn, the two leaders tried to “correct the record” in a staged interview with the friendly TNH. But they failed miserably and made things even worse as they exposed even more problems with the troubled project in lower Manhattan. Here is the rejection of their points one by one:
- They have used recent statements by Andrew Cuomo regarding St. Nicholas to cover their lack of concrete answers for the accusations of corruption. But what good is the word of a New York governor, who is accused for corruption by, among many, the NY Times!!! (here and here). How good is the word of the governor of a state whose Port Authority is synonymous for corruption and a real joke around the country?
- They state that the cost to finish St.Nicholas is $42 million and they forget that they have already spent another over $40 million, making this (at $22,000 per sq.ft) one of the most expensive building projects in the history of humanity!…
- They fumbled their numbers again, stating that they now have raised a total of about $10 million and “they need an additional $32 million”, while last week John Catsimatidis said that they had $17 million!… What happened to the $10 million donation by the Spanos Foundation, completed by Karloutsos and so much touted by Catsimatidis? Did the Foundation take back the donation after realizing there is an ongoing investigation? As we understand this is not the first time something like this is happening: Dean Metropoulos, pulled himself out sometime ago when he took notice of the investigation. He did not want his name to be associated with illegalities!
- Regarding the “financial irregularities” of the past they emphasize that “this is the final time we will address this subject. The answer is there were no financial irregularities, no fraud, theft or malfeasance in respect to St. Nicholas. Period. The subject matter is closed…” And they proceed to refer us for answers to the same PWC accounting report they have used in the past to confuse the situation, instead of shedding light into it… This is the same audit report that never told where the missing money went, the one report where the contractor and the director never took part of (Papadatos and Demetriou, the two most important people)… The same PWC report that provided no detailed accounting as promised and at the end it said it could not confirm the findings! The same audit report that stated no illegal activity, but after it came out with that statement the two central figures above were arrested!
- Do they realize that the “St.Nicholas” Fund was a separate non-profit organization for a sacred cause (a 9/11 Fund!!) and that they took money ILLEGALLY out of such a fund? Just this illegality would be enough to shame them forever, if not throw them to jail!…
- Above all, they failed to recognize that the whole case is still under investigation!! Twice in the last month the Southern District of New York said through their press secretary that the investigation is continuing!!
- The two leaders, Psarros and Mehiel, make this desperate attempt in an interview to a disgraced “theologian”, who is known to change his colors like a genuine chameleon… He is a so-called “journalist” of a newspaper whose publisher was disgraced by scandals and was dismissed from his ministerial position in the Greek government during his flight to Australia! How much credibility do they think they gain by misrepresenting the facts in a completely discredited publication? Actually the two parties of this interview are discrediting each other as, before Arch. Demetrios was forced to resign, TNH was quick to report and provide evidence for all the malfeasance in the St.Nicholas project and all the illegalities they are now trying to cover!! Life has a very harsh way of paying back…
- Does everyone in the Archdiocese realize that they are becoming a laughing stock and that the faithful are leaving the churches in droves? We are receiving reports by numerous parishes that the parish officers are playing frisbee with the collecting trays every Sunday, as they are not many people sitting in the pews to pass the tray along!
- By praising the discredited publisher of the TNH, who committed his own political suicide two months ago and by trying to cover the “mishaps” and false statements and threats by Catsimatidis last week, they are not achieving their main goal, which is restoring the trust.
The faithful demand answers. The faithful demand the truth. The faithful demand punishment of those who are guilty. And they will NOT stop asking for justice until the judicial system of this great country delivers it!!
HERE IS WHAT THE FAITHFUL TRULY BELIEVE (comments collected from various sources on the internet)
Neither one of you have any credibility to the Heartland. You played footsy with all of the GOA for years and watched all this transpire. Psaros, you quit when you should have dug in and fought tooth and nail but they gave you too many medals. Why are you funding Bartholomew’s US trip when there have been no honest answers from the Phanar?
Really, you and Meheil need to just go away. You are compromised oligarchs and you think we’re all your serfs. Leave us alone and we fix it by gaining independence. Enough. Take your leader Karloutsos and leave.
Just so you know Michael Psaros, Dennis Meheil, Fr. Alex Karloutsos, et al, we have faith in St. Nicholas who looked after the less fortunate and whose kindness, humility and quiet way he did his good works without attracting attention to himself are only some of the reasons he was elevated to sainthood – we believe in him.
It is all of you that we don’t believe in.
My my, the egotistical, least knowledgeable, whining, award grabbing pathetic little man has climbed out from under his rock with a statement! Is an Emmy coming his way for worst theatrical performance in the role of Napoleon his reward?
Go away Mr. Psaros. Everyone has seen through your act over the years. When you didn’t receive applause and praise during the Clergy Laity, your true colors of contempt for loyal, dedicated clergy and laity shined through. The applause you received to resign should have been enough for you to realize no one believes you or is intimated by you. You are a fly by night person who was brought in by your best buddy Karloutos to destroy the Archdiocese and it’s Important ministries. Before you preach to us regarding St. Nicholas, learn about our faith, our mission and the loyal orthodox Christians across the United States. We may not be millionaires but collectivity you will never have the riches of heart and faith we do.
Continue to buy your way Mr. Psaros and request to be honored by any organization willing to spend 100.00 on a plaque for you. When you reach the gates of heaven we will all be there watching your rejection and being sent to meet your friend and mentor Satan.
Let the wealthy, award banquet going, photo op crowd pay for this eyesore. The common folk that are struggling to keep their local parishes from collapsing are sick of this monstrosity. Shame.
Spyros Karas :
There should not be one more dollar donated on this project, until the Church accounts for every dollar that was previously donated. WHERE DID YOU SPEND THE MONEY?
What happened to the $40,000,000 the Archdiocese was to use to build a 3,800 sq. foot building, on free land, free foundation and utility hookups? (Those were paid by the NY Port Authority, meaning American taxpayers further donated to this building).
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!
So, GOA and attending henchmen–do you fully comprehend that the Silent Majority wants nothing to do with you skunks? Get lost.
Alex, don’t quote us scripture or the ancient Greeks. You’re time as an untouchable impresario is over.
To the Brotherhood and Sisterhood–the next mess they want you to invest in is Emperor Bartholomew’s May trip to the US. Turn your back on him and all of them, they are not spiritual leaders, they are a syndicate of self service.
We Won’t Get Fooled Again
Our local churches are falling apart (leaking roofs, cracked and broken parking lots, failing HVAC systems, etc…) because we don’t have the funds to properly support them and yet we, the Greek American community, were hit up for $38 million dollars and now you want another $40 million to complete a 3,800 square foot building?!
Oh and let’s not forget the $20+ milllion the Port Authority has spent on the Shrine (that’s right folks from the foundation and anything below (utility hookups, etc…) the
Port Authority paid for the cost of construction so the real tally will be close to $100 million dollars to build a 4,400 square foot building or almost $23,000 per square foot.
Unless I’m not mistaken the same people who were on the original St Nicholas Shrine rebuild committee are largely the same ones on the new Friends of St Nicholas board.
The days of our community being forced, shamed and bullied into coming up with all the money for things such as this, only to have the “Best and Brightest” take all the credit and have their pictures plastered on the front page of the Orthodox Observer and the National Herald as they pass awards out to each other as well as the Hierarchs venerating them publicly are long over and its about time.
And really, we’re supposed to expect different results this time; you know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
The oligarchs need to shut up and hide in shame. They own this mess.
Once again, it seems the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is hoping to brush this under the carpet. The question still remains. Where did the missing funds go and who authorized the transfer of these funds.
All people involved must be held liable for their actions. I tend to think there is much more to this that has not been revealed to date.
Lord have mercy on us and hear our prayers.
The GOA IS A WROTTING CORPSE. one can vainly hope they are shamed in Christ. But I doubt it totally. But surely one can hope they may be more then shamed by USA criminal justice system. Including the criminal in – Chief due to visit yr shores soon.
Try and sell this crap to yr kids as the Church of Christ.
“What should give all of us further pause is how our Archdiocese has corrected the abuses of the past. “
You, Vicar General are the cause of all abuses! Once again to lie to all with your statements.
If “you” have corrected the abuses of the past, why are you still spearheading this, why is your hand out to everyone, why did you have your cronies hide your hundreds of thousands of dollars credit card charges for St. Nicholas, where is the millions of dollars you professed to have raised and why have you not been defrocked for fraud, theft and abuse?
How do you function on a daily basis by using others for your personal advancement?
Perhaps people would stop laughing at you and your statements when you prove you are not the thief who milks the archdiocese, the archons of nothing, leaderless 100 and all the organizations you charge for your “spiritual” guidance and blessings.
Fr. Alex and Psaros have a lot of nerve lecturing us, is all I can say. thay are the author of most of this dystopia which is a result of your insatiable ambition and ego. Read our collective lips. GO AWAY. You’ve done enough damage.
Last I checked the GOA is still under investigation by the US Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Manhattan – yeah sure I’d feel confident handing them my money.
When the “Friends of St. Nicholas” was created we were told there would be transparency. To date we have seen nothing. How much money has been raised? How much has been pledged? Who are the donors? It seems as nothing has changed.
We are once again being insulted and disrespected.
What are you hiding?
You’ve got to love the audacity and tone deafness displayed here in that the Archdiocese is currently under an active investigation by the US Attorneys Office of the Southern District of Manhattan (the folks who rolled up Bernie Madoff and John Gotti among many infamous others) that has already yielded a conviction and an indictment of a major figure in the GOA – and we are being lectured about our PARAPONA!
Really?! But hey what’s $38 million dollars among friends; we should have T-shirt’s made up – “We spent $38 million dollars and all we got was this concrete shell”