Colorado Springs Gazette: Grace Church trial took financial toll on both parties in lawsuit

St. George’s rector, the Rev. Donald Armstrong, said Tuesday he’s optimistic that the church will pay off its debts within the next 60 days.

“We are developing a (long-range) plan to once again have the sort of ministry and outreach for which we have long been known,” said Armstrong, whose church lost the bid for the $17 million Tejon Street property and now meets in the Mountain Shadows area.

On the other side, the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado spent $2.9 million to defend against the Anglican parish’s lawsuit to take possession of downtown property, diocese financial records show.

The legal expenses and a decline in the stock market resulted in a colossal loss in the diocese’s investment income, dropping from $4.9 million in January 2006 to $750,000 in August, records show. It will take years to recover the funds, said Chuck Thompson, assistant treasurer for the diocese.

“We had to sell stocks and bonds to pay the fees,” Thompson said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Colorado

7 comments on “Colorado Springs Gazette: Grace Church trial took financial toll on both parties in lawsuit

  1. austin says:

    So legal persecution turns out to have been a Pyhrric victory. For that money the Diocese could simply have built a new church.

    The satisfaction of crushing dissenters is pretty transitory when they end up better off than you do. And the Diocese also has to run a large plant that probably won’t cover costs.

    Perhaps they could turn the place into a nightclub again. That worked in the past.

  2. Ken Peck says:

    All is well.

  3. palagious says:

    So, sell the church and recoup the funds. That’s what this all about anyway. It sure ain’t about “future generations of the church”.

  4. Dan Crawford says:

    Mr. Thompson says: “We had to sell stocks and bonds to pay the fees”. No, not quite. O’Neil didn’t have to file the lawsuit in the first place. He might have settled with Fr. Armstrong and gotten some money from it which might have preserved the endowment. But the Bishop is …

  5. Ralph says:

    Looking at the math, the breakaway church spent “about $750,000 in legal costs, as well as tens of thousands in fees that were assessed as part of a settlement.”

    But the diocese put down nearly $3 million?

    Maybe the breakaway church got some pro bono work. Maybe the breakaway church hired inexpensive lawyers. Maybe the diocese needs to have its alleged legal expenses audited.

    I keep on saying it – the only winners in these cases are the lawyers. Cha-CHING!!!

    Follow the Money Trail!!!

  6. robroy says:

    This is an excerpt of a comment at Mark Harris+’s place:
    [blockquote] As an attorney, it is absolutely outrageous that the Diocese of Colorado spent $2.9 million on litigating a property claim over a church. I have never in 10 years of commercial litigation practice seen a legal bill approaching anything like that. You should be able to try any case, no matter how complex, for less than $100,000. They were ripped off. The[y] deserved it, of course.[/blockquote]

  7. dwstroudmd+ says:

    Look at all the evangelism and mission the DioCO achieved! Clearly it is flooded with new members seeking inclusion in the big tent of the suit. So classically American just like the rest of the ECUSA/TEC approach to communion, inter-relatedness, mutuality, and submission! They threw money at the problem, and threw and threw and threw……..

    But, objectively, that means there was less to throw at converting the world to ECUSA/TEC “inclusiveness” Gozpell of the NewThang(r).
    So it’s not a complete wash out. Just a complete sell out of the Domestic and Foreign Mission stuff from the past.