Monday, February 26, 2007
PILLA HAD A "RETREAT" IN GEAUGA COUNTY
According to an article in the Plain Dealer website:
nearly half of the $177,000 that the one-time top financial officer at the Cleveland Catholic Diocese says was secretly funneled to former Bishop Anthony Pilla was spent furnishing and remodeling a spacious Geauga County home that was to be used as a getaway spot.
Pilla kept many of the household items - including a large-screen television - after the diocese sold the Munson Township house and 30-acre lot in 2003. Movers took the furnishings to a home Pilla owns in Cleveland Heights.
The allegations about the money come from two former church employees who are accused of defrauding the diocese and are facing federal charges. The two men say that the diocese had hundreds of secret accounts - including one in Pilla's name - to hide and distribute money.
The diocese issued a statement Saturday denying what it called "scurrilous accusations." Pilla said that the diocese cooperated fully with federal investigators and that the only wrongdoing that was uncovered involved the two former employees.
Diocesan spokesman Bob Tayek said private donations paid for improvements at the Munson property. After the sale, items in the home were split among diocesan headquarters, St. John Cathedral and the Cleveland Heights residence that Pilla inherited after his mother died.
"The diocese is responsible for a retirement residence for him," Tayek said.
The Munson home was donated to the diocese in 1995 by Larry Dolan, now the owner of the Cleveland Indians, who suggested that it be used as a retreat house for the Cleveland bishop. The house was intended for whoever was serving as bishop of the Cleveland diocese, not just Pilla, Tayek said.
Read the rest of the story...
So, if everything was on the up and up, why are two former Diocesan employees involved in a trial for misuse of funds? Why did Bishop Pilla suddenly request retirement early? Why was that retirement approved in Rome ASAP?
Also, now that we know there were two houses to which Pilla had access, how many more houses are there that we do not yet know about? What took place in those houses, given that we had, and for all I know may still have, a major sexual abuse scandal in Cleveland?