Sunday, May 15, 2011

In Milwaukee: "In Lawyers We Trust"

The sexual abuse crisis continues to cause shame all over the globe and right here in Milwaukee. As reported in the local paper, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is denying that it owns the Cousins Center, which houses the offices of the Archdiocese. Originally, the Cousins Center was the St. Francis de Sales Preparatory Academy, and even though that institution is defunct, the Archdiocese is maintaining in bankruptcy court that they rent from the Academy and that the land is not available for the victims of sexual abuse. In 2004, the Archdiocese began listing the property separately in their financial statements and until Archbishop Listecki came last year, Dolan had been trying to sell it with the express purpose of funding a sexual abuse fund FOR victims.

Listecki has made it known that he likes the Cousins Center, does not want to sell it, and wants to relocate the offices that had vacated the Cousins Center back at that location. This all smells really bad. But that is what happens when you depend on lawyers and the letter of the law rather than Jesus Christ and Christian morality. Most of what happened a couple years ago to the cause the housing market crash was legal, but it definitely was not moral. The same basically holds true for the Archdiocese in this case. It is also telling that there is not a written lease agreement between the Academy and the Archdiocese, it is just understood that the Archdiocese rents there in return for keeping the place up. A spokesperson for the Archdiocese admits that there may have been some "imprecise communications." If Milwaukee was on the national scene, I could see this phrase catching on. I wonder if Listecki will confess these "imprecise communications" the next time he goes to confession.

A Faithful Catholic


Anonymous said...

So I assume this means you are really disappointed in Anderson and the other lawyers who "represent" the victims as well for being lawyers and using legal tactics for their own cause?

I just figure you are going to be consistent.

Anonymous said...

Just curious where you get the "Academy" name here? because I've never heard it in this context before.
For those of us who were alums, at least from 1974 onward, it was home to "DeSales Preparatory Seminary High School" and "St Francis de Sales College" and I do recall the legal name as being "DeSales Preparatory Seminary {High School} Inc." but I'm not sure about whether High school was in the legal name or not. Because of nature of the shared facilities, business operations for the physical plant seemed to be in common. Educational administration, tuition, etc seemed to be separated between the High School and College. And the Major Seminary at 3257 was also rather separated by land, corporation and administration.
But corporate names can be changed with the corporation staying intact. I suspect this is a case of a "Felix Culpa", where no one really bothered to check or substantively change the original corporation or transfer the deed. So whether I like it or not, this news isn't really news for me. And yes, it will be up to lawyers to determine whether it has indeed been a separate corporation in itself all along or actually so closely related to the archdiocese that it could be considered an asset. Who knows, perhaps this "ownership" issue was at play in Cardinal Stritch declining to buy it back then but kept tacet.

Maintenance on the building has been deferred for some time, esp the underground former faculty parking garage and, likely, the flat roofs which had trouble even back then; so I could understand if the maintenance costs far exceed even reasonable rent. The CC had produced some revenue thru housing retired priests as well, but they were moved in anticipation of the sale as were the offices that went to Layton Blvd. But why pay rent on Layton when the Cousins space now sits largely idle back on Lake Drive?