A.S. Haley–Making Heresy Pay: the Episcopal Church's Hired Expert

In each of its multiple lawsuits against departed parishes and dioceses, ECUSA usually files a sworn statement (“affidavit” or “declaration”) from Prof. Robert Bruce Mullin, who teaches at its General Theological Seminary in New York. Required discovery disclosures in some of the lawsuits have finally given opponents a handle on the degree of bias which Dr. Mullin brings to his task. Without mincing any words, let me come right to the point:

Over forty months from September 2007 through December 2010, ECUSA has paid Prof. Mullin, over and above his salary at GTS, a total of $672,020.00 in hourly fees. ECUSA has also paid to reimburse him for a further $8,487 in expenses he incurred in his researches, including travel to various locations to have his deposition taken, or to testify at trials.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

12 comments on “A.S. Haley–Making Heresy Pay: the Episcopal Church's Hired Expert

  1. BlueOntario says:

    Stupid TEC. They could have easily found someone just as qualified to make up history for a quarter that. And I see in the comments at Anglican Curmdgeon that actual research is cheaper yet!

  2. cseitz says:

    Whether you approve of its content or not, the labor of Mark McCall, Ephraim Radner, Philip Turner and other ACI contributors has all been done pro bono. For reasons of concern and conviction.

    As an academic who has held tenured posts at Yale and St Andrews, I’d be curious to know what GTS makes of this enormous side income (which is of course not book publication royalty or even academic speaking fees).

  3. Ralph says:

    As also posted elsewhere:
    Reputable academic institutions have a policy on outside employment of their faculty. If GTS is reputable, then I wonder what theirs might be, and how this might fit in.

    In some places, having outside sources of income is OK, as long as one uses personal time for doing all of the outside work. If he used GTS time and resources for these many hours of work, then some or all of what he was paid ought to go to GTS.

    In other places, faculty are not allowed to have outside sources of income, at all. Period.

    Like cseitz, I’m sure that the Dean and trustees will find this very interesting.

    I also think the Association of Theological Schools, which is probably their accrediting organization, might find this interesting.

  4. mannainthewilderness says:

    great gig if one can get it

  5. A Senior Priest says:

    What I find so shocking is that TEC is such an easy touch. Making big money off ’em like that is sort of shameful for a supposedly committed establishment-type. As the son and grandson of professors myself, it’s certain that his ‘colleagues’ are going to be extremely envious of his good fortune in finding such a generous paymistress. As well, all of the past lawsuits in which his so-called testimony was important ought to be simultaneously revisited.

  6. NoVA Scout says:

    I take it that the point Mr. Haley is trying to make is that the legal system does include tremendous costs attributable to the retention of expert witnesses and that those who retain them must be vigilant in their efforts to control those costs. I have experienced this first hand in a number of cases unrelated to church disputes, many of which required us to use academics as witnesses. Many of those witnesses made multiples of their academic salaries in witness fees. I am aware of several instances in complex commercial litigation where expert witness fees exceeded the attorneys’ fees. I have always been uncomfortable with these costs (as I am with attorneys’ fees) in terms of their effects on the process of obtaining justice, but have no good alternative to offer. Generally speaking, the witnesses who command these fees in cases that I follow are helpful to the courts and to reaching a just outcome. It is commonplace in the cross-examination of these types of witnesses to get on the record the fact that they are paid (and, usually, how much they are paid). Ironically, I think a court might find an expert who stepped forward and asked no fee, but professed to provide testimony purely out of conviction, to be less credible than one who, as is standard and routine, commands a substantial fee. It is also commonplace for representatives of clients facing these fees to minutely audit the invoices (as they should also be doing for their attorneys’ invoices) to check for errors and anomalies. These sorts of adjustments are almost inevitable and, once identified, should be corrected promptly by the expert of the law firm. I take it from the posted piece that this indeed is happening with this expert.

    Fortunately, I do not find anything in Mr. Haley’s piece that avers that Mr. Mullin’s testimony was dishonest or inaccurate as a result of the compensation he commanded. It may well be, as a couple of the comments suggest, that the Church could have found as useful a witness at lower cost. That is always a difficult decision for lawyers to make as they plan litigation.

    It is, as we probably all agree, a great tragedy that these enormous costs have been incurred over the course of the last few years by all parties in U.S. Anglican property disputes. Again, however, my awareness of the situation is that all of these cases are reactions by the Church at the national or diocesan level to people who decide to leave the church but, instead of simply disaffiliating or changing parishes, actually lay claim to physical property and assets when they leave. This is a radical and generally unprecedented circumstance in the American Anglican community that is not readily acquiesced in by Diocesan Bishops with stewardship responsibilities. It may ultimately be that the courts determine that departees do indeed secure ownership status over real and personal property when they depart, even as they strip away whatever rights those who elect to stay might have, but that trend is not yet apparent and I personally would find it a proposition of extremely dubious moral, legal, and ethical foundation and wisdom. I share some of Mr. Haley’s (and many others’) misgivings about the role of the polity of the national church in these situations, but that is neither here nor there in this particular context. While they are in litigation, they will have to pay lawyers and experts, as will their opponents. The money could be better used for mission work by both sides, or, in the case of departing groups, the construction of marvelous new churches that would be of use and inspiration for decades or centuries to come.

  7. Sarah says:

    Thanks for this great work, Curmudgeon.

    Any traditional TECan can happily email this article to all of their friends in their diocese and parish with the helpful title of “our pledge dollars at work in the national church.”

    There’s an upcoming stewardship push in many parishes this Fall, and it’s always good for our friends to recognize how pledging dollars are spent at 815. I encourage conservative Episcopalians to share this article broadly via email.

    Ultimately, of course, pledging dollars need to decline in TEC for change to eventually occur. Diocesan offices need to shrink, 815 needs to shrink, and we need to stop funding evil, corruption, and heresy.

    I think that’s happening pretty nicely, and that decline is *forcing* staff layoffs and shrinking power and influence. But there’s nothing like just letting people know about how money is being spent in our church. Haley is doing a fantastic job describing the details so thoroughly — it’s devastating to have this kind of detail all nicely written out for everybody to see.

  8. MichaelA says:

    A very practical suggestion, Sarah.

    Despite the attempts by e.g. #6 to avoid the implications, this is all pretty shocking, and TEC congregations should be made aware of it. What a monstrous waste of money by a liberal church hierarchy that has first driven out faithful congregations, and then tries to use the law to take their property from them!

    And it would all have been so easy to avoid – stick to the teachings of the church, and don’t oppress people. What a hole TEC has been left in by the incompetent leadership of Griswold and Schori!

  9. NoVA Scout says:

    It seems like something far short of “oppression”, Michael, to firmly remind departing parishioners to leave the hymnals in the rack and the kneelers under the pews. Where the practice continues, especially on a grand scale, “using the law” strikes me as a rational and unavoidable choice, particularly where the claim of ownership to places and things by those who leave is so broad as to invade rights of people who elect to stay.

  10. MichaelA says:

    Sorry, NoVA I have no idea what you are referring to. I was talking about congregations forced out of TEC by its leaders’ rejection of Christian teaching.

  11. NoVA Scout says:

    I stand corrected Michael. I thought the “using the law” and “oppression” references were to litigation following claims of ownership by departing groups. I admit on reflection that that would be pretty counter-factual to interpret it that way. I think I unwittingly conflated the topic of the post and some of the other comments, as well as projected some earlier comments you have made on the subject into this thread, and that led to my missing the thrust of your point.

    But, given your explanation, I must say that I am completely unaware of anything that would resemble “oppression” or “using the law” in situations where people have simply disaffiliated and joined other groups that they view as more correct in worship or doctrine. I don’t think there has been the slightest effort by TEC in those situations to react in any way to such departures. I know a number of former Episcopalians who have become Roman Catholics, Orthodox, or joined protestant denominations and have never heard boo from TEC about it. I think that is the norm, not the exception.

  12. MichaelA says:

    NoVA, I take your point.