Monday, July 26, 2010

Lessons Matt Kennedy Learned When Attempting Theft - #4

4. Retain an attorney familiar with church property disputes now...today. Even if your negotiations end amicably, you will need an attorney to help you work out the details of any agreement. And if the diocese turns to litigation, you will not need to rush about looking for a lawyer. You can focus all of your energy on leading.
This way you’ll have also locked your community’s finest legal minds into your side of the fight before it starts, forcing your opponents to make-do with second best. What’s more it ensures that even if things do end amicably you can still enjoy wasting your parishioners’ money by paying high-priced experts to undertake simple procedural tasks.

13 comments :

jane smith said...

This Matt Kennedy man makes me cringe - and I live a long way away from him!

I've asked this question before, and I'll ask it again: why don't people like Matt and his family simply go to Rome or EO? Why hang around a church where they no longer feel at home?!

jane

David |Dah • veed| said...

Jane, Matt did leave, but he and his parish wanted to take the building(s) and a trust fund with him/them.

He/They lost on both accounts; the building(s) and the money.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Jane, I could never figure out why folks think they can take church property with them when they leave. You're free to leave any time, but shake the dust off your feet and go, for heaven's sake

Fr Hugh Jass said...

I always find it useful to retain a very expensive lawyer in case I might steal a building one day. One never knows what horrid crimes one may commit. I sometimes think of becoming a mass-murderer,and am profoundly sorry for all the people I haven't killed.

+clumber said...

Finest mind? But but but... they used Raymond "Big Dog" Dague, who had to his credentials the lost suit of St. Andrews Syracuse... oh sorry, the legal settlement was reported to be

"The Episcopal Diocese of Central New York retains ownership of St. Andrew's Church, but members of the breakaway parish will get to use the building rent-free for up to a year, according to the settlement."

So the "Big Dog" is 0-3 in these sorts of things. The NY law is pretty clear cut. Which leaves the possibility that this was a nuisance suit, designed to cost the diocese money and for the local people to continue to perpetuate the myth that they were doing "spiritual warfare" against the apostate Episcopal Church. Imagine what they thought of the Quakers and Methodists in town!

And as for going to Rome - they would never in a million years go there! Rome is far too lax and loosey-goosey for this sect!

Pete said...

Trying to take the church building with you when you decide to no longer use is as an Episcopal Church is akin to having legal possession of your rental car, but at the end of your agreed rental period deciding you like it and keep it, trying to "convert" it from a rental car to your own property. The crime of keeping something past your legal entitlement is a form of theft called conversion.
No matter how much gasoline you put in the car while you validly possessed it under your rental contract, or how many times you washed it, it is still theft if you try to convert its use after your term of possession and do not return it when you are finished using it for its intended purpose as a rental car.
Just because the congregation maintained the church building for years with no help from the national church does not change the crime of conversion. The parish only holds the building under a constructive trust for its intended use as an Episcopal Church and cannot change that purpose to their own uses.

jane smith said...

Thanks, David and Grandmere Mimi for explaining what MK did - the internet doesn't always make things clear.

Yes, shake the dust off your feet and go. And having gone, don't do what a couple of EO converts I know do: write snide little comments about your old church in blogs and books.

Anonymous said...

Well, they probably figure that Henry viii managed to get a lot of property when HE left, so why shouldn't they? Trouble is, Henry viii had an army and a lot of salt water between him and the original owners of the property, not to mention "powers of persuasion" that simply aren't available to most churches today, now that people are wising up and realizing what a lot of hooey religion is.

The Rev. Dr. Christian Troll said...

You're quite right, little Brad my son, and one only has to look at the Taliban (or say the wrong the thing in the wrong Northern Irish Bar) to see nobody ever fights about religion these days.

Anonymous said...

The wrong northern Irish bar? Just like the Taliban?
Like saying the flu virus is like HIV.
Northern Ireland is a sideshow.
Religion in the North Atlantic world is either an irritation or an irrelevance.

The Rev. Dr. Christian Troll said...

You may have a point Brad - getting killed by an irate Ulsterman is no doubt very different to being killed by an Afghan fundamentalist. Even if the recently deceased isn't in a position to appreciate the subtleties.

Anonymous said...

Statistically, you're safer in Northern Ireland than over 90% of the world.
Comparing the Taliban to Ulster is like comparing an AK-47 to a pocketknife; they're both weapons but hardly equally dangerous.
But I do agree with you: there are no such things as "hate" crimes. As if anyone was ever killed in love.

The Rev. Dr. Christian Troll said...

I didn't compare Northern Ireland per se to Afghanistan, my son. If you'd taken the trouble to listen to what Matron read you'd have noticed I specified "the wrong bar" in that fair land which has become renown for religious harmony and tolerance.

If you weren't family, my dear boy...