Every hour and every day that the enabler, “godfather” Andriotis stays in control in the parish of Astoria is a slap in the face for all those who were hoping that the “hope-bearer” AB Elpidophoros will lead the Church on a new road paved with transparency and accountability. 

By Nick Stamatakis

Helleniscope and this author has published countless posts during the last 17 months exposing with very specific descriptions all kinds of wrongdoings in the parish of St. Demetrios of Astoria. If a reader enters the words “conflict of interest”, “Andriotis”, “Koularmanis” “St.Demetrios School”, “corruption” or anything relevant in English or in Greek in the search button of this website, a wealth of information will be revealed… Through our many posts it was evident that since Andriotis became involved in the parish in the mid to late 1970s, he started perfecting a typically mafioso practice of blocking and expelling anyone willing to be a leader in the community, both at the parish and the school level. What did Andriotis want? A complete and exclusive domination of the parish and its school with a total budget today of over $7 million annually. And he achieved it, by kicking a large number of honest and able leaders, a very long list…

As many people in the community know, this list included very able, educated and popular priests like Father Poulos and Father Pavlos (Papalexiou), the best educator the Greek community in America has ever had, the beloved “Mr.T” (Demosthenes Triantafyllou), and a number of honest, selfless and able leaders, whose names would probably fill a whole page…

He performed the role of the “Godfather” by blackmailing and threatening anyone he perceived as a competitor and by using others, as his “assistants”, usually very weak and flawed characters, like Koularmanis, Eliades and the now Bishop of Medeias Apostolos (Koufalakis), the set of characters we nicknamed “Andriotis and the Three Stooges” in one of our most popular posts (please click here).

The election of AB Elpidophoros allowed Andriotis, a principal/owner both at ALMA Bank and ALMA Realty, to install the “three stooges” in critical positions within the Archdiocese.  Until then, the parish’s financial matters were basically handled as the two pockets of Andriotis…  When the authorities come to the parish – and have no doubt, they will come – Andriotis, if still alive, will find his day of reckoning.

We have detailed many of his violations (here, here and here). But let’s take a closer look now at the relationship between Andriotis and Koularmanis, between “adopted” father and son.  It’s a complementary relationship, as Andriotis never had a family and children and Koularmanis found in Andriotis the man who would provide him with financial security and professional advancement.  Little by little Andriotis enabled Koularmanis in many ways:

  • Andriotis allowed him, by his “personal OK” on all kinds of financial privileges (with Andriotis, democratic rules and “elected body decisions” are not necessary, and if they ever oppose his will he overthrows them with his “word” – the “word of a “mafioso”).  An annual salary approaching $200,000 a year and a 10% bonus (unheard of elsewhere as a practice) on all government grants to the School.  Was Koularmanis expecting a 10% commission on the $25 million Niarchos donation?  You bet he was…  Who promised him $2.5 million?  There is only one answer to this question: Andriotis…
  • Control of the school budget (over $5 million), allowing him to buy products and services anywhere he wished with no control from anyone!! A few weeks before he left last December, he bought very expensive equipment for the new computer room!! After 20 years of abuse he realized that in the last days of his tenure he had to equip the computer room!! He also used a credit card which the school paid monthly blindly without review of the credit card statement and “no questions asked” –  with total annual expenses in the tens of thousands of dollars!!!
  • Does anyone one know anything about the Koularmanis “employment contract” with the parish? It seems that nobody in the community knows its whereabouts… Is it hidden along with many other documents in Alma Realty offices? Possibly… Will the “Godfather” Andriotis, (who hired Koularmanis himself and spent many pages in his book describing the process) “grace” the parish council by revealing this “contract”?  Or is it again the “word” of the mafioso” Andriotis who did the hiring?  If this is the case Andriotis may be liable for millions of dollars in damages to the parish and the parish should move against him!!
  • Threats to students, parents, teachers were a normal phenomenon.  Accomplished teachers with many degrees and teaching experience were “exiled” from the High School to the Elementary School just because they “disagreed”… Students were terrorized.  In fact, in the course of 17 months of reporting on the St.Demetrios Parish, the words “terrorism” and “terrorized” were the ones more frequently associated with Andriotis and Koularmanis…

Here is how I remember a characteristic episode – also described in the “lawsuit”, as it was about the two children, “honor students” of a parish council member who opposed Andriotis and Koularmanis in the famed story of the Niarchos donation…

After learning about two (2) honor students who were barred from admission to the School last summer, I contacted the parents of the children and interviewed them in August 2019.  I was elucidated on other egregious examples of extortion that Andriotis took to suppress parents complaining about the anti-pedagogical and vengeful actions taken against the children and parents.  I was told by the children’s father (a current Parish Council member) that on April 7, 2019 at the Petros Patrides Cultural Center at the Sarakostiano Luncheon hosted by the Community, Andriotis threatened the father that if he did not stay quiet, Andriotis would go after the father’s license to practice law (exact words: “watch your bar license”).

And the next day (on April 8, 2019 at the conference room of the School) when the parents of those children met with Andriotis, Father Nektarios, Koularmanis and others because the parents requested that Koularmanis and his minions stop taking revenge on the parents’ children over the father’s vote to not accept the Niarchos Foundation’s donation, Andriotis opened the meeting with threats to the parents that: (a) the father was appearing in the meeting as a father, not as a lawyer; and (b) that Andriotis would “throw out the children before he fires Koularmanis.”  These threats were heard by everyone in the room, loud and clear.

Is this the types of people the Stavros Niarchos Foundation does business with?  What due diligence did Andreas Drakopoulos perform in order to seek to proceed with Andriotis and Koularmanis?  Are these the types of people that the Archdiocese wants associated with its revered institution?  Parents ask out loud: How will Hellenism and Orthodoxy flourish in the United States when people like Andriotis and Koularmanis are rewarded with titles such as “Honorary President” and “Director of Education”, respectively, after these persons have been abusing the parents of these Communities in their decades-long reign?

June 26, 2020, n.stamatakis@aol.com   www.helleniscope.com

 

 

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