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Monforton must resign

To the editor:

Among the seven alleged charges against the former comptroller at the Diocese of Steubenville, David A. Franklin, and according to the indictment, “the defendant was secretly paying to himself (and a select group of other employees) bonuses, gift distributions, service fees and other payments in addition to salaries, without the knowledge or consent of the bishop or other person authorized to give consent.”

When bonuses or other payments are normally given to an employee, it is customary to receive that payment from the person they report to. It will be interesting to see if those payments were given to others secretly by Franklin as stated in the indictment and what involvement the others may have in the criminal actions or cover up.

It is hard to believe that the bishops (Jeffrey Monforton and Daniel Conlon) and vicar general (Monsignor Kurt Kemo) were not aware of the “irregularities” and criminal actions that were going on under their noses for 13 years. If they did not have knowledge or gave their consent to the payments given to select employees as well as all of the other criminal activities, they are guilty of gross negligence and incompetence.

If the chancery had been following the diocesan financial management guidelines regarding potential financial issues and recommended steps to take in order to have checks and balances to eliminate irregularities and criminal acts, this would not have happened.

Conlon resigned as bishop in May from the Diocese of Joliet, Ill. Kemo resigned from Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of Lourdes in May and is on a leave of absence from pastoral duties. Monforton should do the right thing and resign as bishop.

If you need further evidence of Monforton’s failure to be financially responsible, look no farther than the cathedral renovation fiasco:

On Nov. 25, 2013, Monforton said he had obtained $3.75 million of the funds needed for the $5 million cathedral project.

On Oct. 22, 2017 it was reported in the Herald-Star that the total cost of the project would now be $10.7 million and the diocese “will be seeking an additional $9 million for the remaining work,” according to Dino Orsatti, diocesan communications director.

It doesn’t take a financial expert to see that if you had $3.75 million in 2013 and the revised project cost in 2017 was $10.7 million and you were asking for $9 million more from the members that it doesn’t add up. The difference of $2.05 million that you do not account for does not include interest on that money as well as additional donations since January 2014.

This is just another indicator of fiscal incompetence with diocesan members’ hard-earned money. To this day, Monforton has not disclosed how much money is in the cathedral renovation account.

The diocese needs a new leader, a new direction and someone they can trust to make sure their hard earned and freely given money is utilized for its intended purpose. Monforton must resign.

Frank Krajovic

CCHS Class of 1965

Woodstock, Ga.

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