Since the previous report here on CANA in Colorado there has been extensive local newspaper coverage of developments at Grace Church and St. Stephen’s Parish. You can find links to most of those stories via epiScope.
One recent story is Grace asks court to protect property from state diocese by Paul Assay in the Colorado Springs Gazette. This links to a PDF file (650K) of the presentment issued against The Reverend Donald Armstrong by the Diocese of Colorado.
Yesterday, the same reporter wrote Date set for Grace parishioners to vote on vestry’s severed ties. This includes:
MORE DETAILS ABOUT ARMSTRONG’S CHARGES PRESENTED BY DIOCESE
The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado released a copy of its charges against the Rev. Donald Armstrong on Friday, providing far greater detail of the Colorado Springs priest’s alleged misuse of funds.
Armstrong, longtime rector for Grace Church and St. Stephen’s Parish, was suspended in December while the diocese investigated whether he misapplied church money. The document released Friday — a presentment to the diocese’s ecclesiastical court — is a summary of what the investigation found. The presentment alleges:
– Armstrong used a scholarship fund, whose committee hasn’t met since 1992, to fund his own children’s education, provide an $8,800 grant for a former associate and for other unknown uses. Alleged theft: $115,387.
– The “outreach expenses” on the books that Grace Church made to the Anglican Communion Institute, Grace’s conservative think tank, never reached the institute. Instead, those payments were made to accounts called “Donald Armstrong — College Fund” or “College Fund.” Alleged theft: $146,316.
– The church paid for cell phones, personal computers and car expenses for his wife and children. Alleged theft: $130,707.
– Armstrong caused the church to underreport hundreds of thousands of dollars in income and benefits, including $261,703 for his children’s college-related expenses, $110,920 in personal expenses and $81,589 in unpaid, no-interest “loans” the church gave Armstrong. Alleged unreported income: $548,097.
– Armstrong received 14 loans from the church over 10 to 12 years, even though state law says corporations (Grace Church) can’t loan money to directors or officers. Total value of the alleged loans: $122,479.
The presentment, issued by the Diocesan Review Committee, also alleges that Armstrong misused the church’s discretionary fund account, broke the terms of his suspension, and encumbered the church with $4.5 million in debt without diocesan permission.
Jim Naughton has drawn attention to the part of the presentment (page 5) which says:
…the Anglican Communion Institute (“ACI”) is a ministry of Grace Church. While ACI is not a legal entity, it has its own checking account. The operating accounts of Grace Church and ACI were used interchangeably to pay for the operating expenses of the other….
Christopher Seitz has made this comment about the above:
This is confusing to us at ACI. ACI was formed at the January 2004 conference in Charleston, with the dissolving of SEAD, so as to assist several Primates and the work of the AC. Prior to this, there was an ‘Anglican Institute’ at Grace Church. Many of the dates in the Presentment pre-date ACI but could pertain to AI. It is unclear where the confusion is being introduced. Then again, in one newspaper account, it is made to appear that ACI was a victim of this ‘bad book-keeping.’ So until there is more public airing, things remain unclear. The way this has unfolded, the potential for confusion and hurt is maximised in a way that is tragic. C Seitz, President, ACI