The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Clergy sex abuse victims comment on archdiocese tax issue
Statement by Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director 314-862-7688
When it comes to their ‘separate corporations,’ Catholic officials want it both ways. In clergy sex and cover up lawsuits, they routinely claim that schools, parishes, and other church entities are entirely separate and their assets can’t be ‘co-mingled.’ Now in San Francisco, to gain tax advantages, they claim these ‘separate corporations’ aren’t really separate at all.
This just seems like more ingenuous and desperate lawyering by a hierarchy more committed to self preservation than anything else.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 20 years and have more than 9,000 members across the country. Despite the word "priest" in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and protestant ministers. Our website is snapnetwork.org)
David Clohessy, SNAP National Director 314 566 9790, Barbara Blaine, SNAP President and Founder 312 399 4747, Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director 314 862 7688
S.F. Assessor Phil Ting Takes on the Catholic Church Tomorrow Morning
By Anna McCarthy
Monday, Jun. 15 2009 @ 11:59AM
Tomorrow morning, assessor Phil Ting will be arguing in front of the San Francisco Appeals Board that the Catholic Church owes San Francisco up to $15 million in transfer taxes -- one of the largest tax bills in the city's history. The hearing will be held at 1 South Van Ness on the second floor atrium conference room starting at 10 a.m.
Ting says the Archdiocese of San Francisco transferred ownership of 232 properties among three different nonprofits without paying the required taxes. Nonprofits are exempt from property and federal income taxes, but not from property transfer taxes. The properties in question include such city favorites as: Mission Dolores, Old St. Mary's Cathedral, and St. Francis of Assisi.
The diocese claims that the three nonprofits aren't actually "separate" per se, as they all fall under the umbrella of the Roman Catholic Church -- and that the transfers were just gifts under canon law. It refers to the exchange as "internal reorganization." But Ting isn't buying it. Apparently, a gift worth between $210 million and $1.25 billion (estimated worth of the properties in question) is a little suspect.
In a June 6 article, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Ting believes the diocese is primarily trying to shield assets from liability to help pay off the $40 million in settlements related to sexual abuse lawsuits. Ting also said that he has been receiving calls from other religious nonprofits with a stake in the outcome of the case.
In a recent press release, Archdiocesan General Counsel Jack Hammel called Ting's "extreme position" an "assault on all religious organizations and other nonprofits." But calling Ting a religion/charity-hater is actually pretty mild stuff considering Catholic organizations' track record of comparing San Francisco officials to the Third Reich.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests