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for a rainy day

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 29, 2007

Bishop Anthony Pilla took early retirement from the Diocese of Cleveland last year for health reasons he declined to specify, having filed amended tax returns under pressure. The Diocese is claiming his disputed bank account wasn't secret and wasn't misused.

The Anthony M. Pilla Charitable account wasn't a secret fund but rather the former bishop's personal savings account, a lawyer for the Cleveland Catholic Diocese said.

The information emerged in a motion filed in U.S. District Court as part of the criminal case against Joseph Smith and Anton Zgoznik, two former employees accused of bilking the diocese out of $784,000.

Lawyers for the two men filed a motion last month in which they accused the diocese of maintaining hundreds of secret bank accounts used to funnel money to employees, including a $600,000 account controlled by Pilla.

"The McDonald & Co. account is Bishop Pilla's personal account in which his savings were deposited," diocesan attorney Stephen Sozio wrote. Smith "tries to impugn Bishop Pilla by arguing that transactions relating to that personal account -- transactions on which he actually advised the bishop -- were somehow untoward. They were not."
Maybe. Maybe not.

As far as I can see, there's nothing illegal, or dodgy, or shameful about a bishop's having a personal saving account. So why doesn't it appear on the books as, for example, the "Anthony M. Pilla Personal Savings account" instead of the "Anthony M. Pilla Charitable account"?

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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Mar. 29, 2007 5:54 PM ET USA

    Was it a charitable remainder trust, established to avoid taxes?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 29, 2007 7:40 AM ET USA

    Did Bishop Anthony M. Pilla win that $600,000 in the lottery, or he just saved that out of his bishop's salary? Maybe the Pilla family is rich and he just inherited it. Maybe not. If I were a Cleveland Catholic I would withhold my Sunday contribution for at least a decade. $600,000 + $784,000 = ? Well, the lawyers of the diocese can make that addition, for a fee. There is no hope.

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