In referring to my list of "crimes" (found here), Anonymous says:
Items 8 and 9 on the "list of crimes" refers to Archbishop Apuron's attempt to give away the Old Accion Hotel property (Yona Property) to the Redemptoris Mater Seminary (RMS), its current occupant. Anonymous is correct in calling this a "biggie". The property could be conservatively valued at 75 Million Dollars, and given all the crying the Archbishop has been doing lately about the so-called financial mismanagement of Msgr. James, the giving away of a 75 Million Dollar asset would be not only the grossest mismanagement of all, it could be both canonically and civilly illegal.
The question is:
DID ARCHBISHOP APURON GIVE AWAY THE YONA PROPERTY?
A PDF "white paper" is available here.
Let's review the facts:
Sometime in 2011, Archbishop Apuron appears to have been approached by the Neocrats (the leaders of the NCW) about signing over the title to the Yona Property to RMS.
We know this because of a letter dated September 8, 2011, addressed to Fr. Pablo Ponce Rodriguez, Rector, The Redemptoris Mater House of Formation, from Richard J. Untalan, then-president of the Archdiocesan Finance Council (AFC). In the letter, Mr. Untalan writes:
The matter of the transfer of the title to the property on which the Seminary is located and situated has come before the Archdiocesan Finance Council, as it involves the alienation of the patrimony of the Archdiocese of Agana. The request before us is that title of the property be conveyed and transferred to the Redemptoris Mater House of Formation, Archdiocese of Agana, a Guam non-profit corporation. Upon review and consideration, the Archdiocesan Finance Council has denied the request that the title be conveyed to the Redemptoris Mater House of Formation.
Let's stop here and analyze the reasons why the Neocrats (Giuseppe Gennarini, et al) want title to the property. Gennarini knows that Apuron is a short timer, whether it be due to age, health, or Rome. In fact, Archbishop Apuron was said to have said to some members of the finance council: "They think I'm going to die", as the reason for the request from the Neocrats to transfer the title.
Well, yes, Archbishop Apuron is "going to die", but do we seen him transferring the title to every parish and school to its current occupants? Do we even hear of anyone asking? NO. Why? Because the Archdiocese of Agana is a corporation-sole and title to the property will pass to the next occupant of his office. And therein lies the problem. The Neocrats KNOW that Apuron is a unique "gift" to the Neocatechumenal Way. No bishop in the world has been so easily controlled and used by the Neocrats, even going so far as to ordaining men that probably no other bishop would ordain, and even Apuron himself is said to have not wanted to ordain. But he obeys their orders.
The Neocrats know that in order to continue their command and control center, otherwise known as the Archdiocese of Agana, they must keep the seminary. Thus by taking control of the title to the property they can tie a successor bishop's hands from evicting them. This brings us to a related item that we will discuss more in depth later:
Some think that the Archbishop's campaign to discredit Msgr. James is just out of jealousy or a desire to control the Cathedral. It isn't. The Archbishop's campaign against Msgr. James is to discredit him in order to keep him from becoming the next bishop. The Neocrats need a neo-bishop. This is why they brought back Adrian from his self-imposed exile where he had several years to pout over his being passed over for Monsignor. Apuron has little regard for Adrian, which is why he passed over him in the first place, but Adrian is a Neo, and the Neocrats need a Neo. Thus the campaign to destroy Msgr. James and the return of Adrian not just to Guam, but to the highest office available at the chancery. Apuron is simply following orders.
Now back to the title issue.
Two months after Richard Untalan wrote to Fr. Rodriguez, Archbishop Apuron wrote Richard Untalan (Letter Apuron to Untalan, Nov 16, 2011):
After having consulted with the Reverend Monsignor David C. Quitugua, Vicar General and Judicial Vicar of the Archdiocese of Agana, regarding the matter presented to the Archdiocesan Finance Council regarding the supposed "alienation" of the property where the Redemptoris Mater Seminary and the Theological Institute "Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores" affiliated to the Pontifical Lateran University have their See, I wish to specify precisely that, probably due to a lack of knowledge of Canon Law, it was erroneously understood as "alienation".
The matter is clearly not "alienation," but simply an assigning of the title of a property that is transferred and renamed from one public juridic person subject to the Ordinary to another public juridic person subject to the same Ordinary.
The Title holder then doesn't change at all because it remains the same Ordinary, whereas the assignment qualifies the subject regarding its use and, consequently, renders the property subject to rights, duties and obligations, including maintenance.
In addition, canons 1256, 1257 and 1276 remove any doubt that the supreme authority of the said juridic person is the Archbishop.
Furthermore, the Seminary is canonically a public juridic person (canon 238) subject in toto to the jurisdiction of the Ordinary. Also, from a civil point of view, the Seminary is a Corporation-Sole in which the Sole-member is the Ordinary with absolute powers who remains, in any case, the exclusive hold of the Title to the Property.
Let's take a closer look at this letter from the Archbishop. He apparently wants us to believe that he only consulted the Vicar General (VG) AFTER the transfer of title to RMS was denied by the AFC. First, this is rather stupid. One would think that the Archbishop (AAA) would have FIRST consulted the Vicar General to make sure that all canonical matters for the transfer of the title were in order. In fact, he probably did. In fact, given that the VG is also a big time Neocrat, he and AAA most probably colluded on the whole scheme at the direction of Mr. Big back in Jersey (Gennarini). It's amazing that he would take a real estate developer (Mr. Untalan) for a fool on the matter of property titles, but that is par for the course when it comes to the arrogance of the Neocrats.
As AAA himself should have done (but did not because he knew what the answer would be), Mr. Untalan sent AAA's letter to Atty. Ed Terlaje, the archdiocesan legal counsel, for an opinion. On November 27, 2011, Atty. Terlaje wrote:
Read your letter and that of the archbishop. As you well know, "alienation" and "assignment" are words of distinction without a difference. Any documents containing these words would place a huge cloud on title to real property which would result in a protracted litigation and prohibitive cost to remove such cloud. Do you really want to risk title to the property conservatively valued at 75 million dollars? I have other serious concerns raised in the letter, and if you wish, would like to discuss in private with you and other members of the finance council.
Having received the legal counsel's opinion, Mr. Untalan called for a meeting of the AFC on December 6, 2011. On the agenda, as Item #5, was the title issue.
AAA, who was off-island at the time (isn't he always?), instructs Mr. Untalan to take Item #5 off the agenda. Mr. Untalan complies and Item #5 is taken off the agenda.
However, the VG, Msgr. David C. Quitugua, believing that Item #5 is still on the agenda, on the morning of the scheduled meeting, sends an email to Mr. Untalan accusing him and the other members of the AFC of some nasty stuff:
To deny the Archbishop this right, on the one hand, breaks communion with him and, on the other hand, represents a "vulnus" towards the Archbishop insinuating a form of disrespect towards his person.
Mr. Untalan replies to the VG that he is "stunned" by the VG's accusation and goes on to explain that Item #5 had been taken off the agenda, that it was not going to be discussed in the Archbishop's absence, and that the vicious accusation by the Vicar General against him and the rest of the AFC was uncalled for. The meeting was cancelled.
Later that day, AAA sends a separate email berating Mr. Untalan saying he is "appalled" at Mr. Untalan's disobedience, reiterating that the issue is not to "be discussed until I come home", and to "stop this nonsense."
Mr. Untalan responds: "I am deeply hurt that you would accuse me of disobeying you and that I was creating nonsense..."
On January 11, 2012, Mr. Untalan and the other three members of the AFC who opposed the transfer of title (Msgr. James Benavente, Joseph E. Rivera, and Sr. Mary Stephen Torres, RSM), receive a letter from AAA stating:
The term or your appointment has expired and I believe that it is time for me to engage new members in the council...This letter marks the official termination of your membership.
Now comes the kicker. In the letter to Mr. Untalan, AAA continues:
Your five year term has already lapsed since your appointment in January 25, 2000 in the archdiocesan finance council.
I call this the "kicker" because the letter is dated January 11, 2012, almost a full SEVEN years after Mr. Untalan's term "already lapsed". The same was true of the other members whose term had "lapsed". And in the case of Sister Stephen, her term had "lapsed" nearly twenty years previously.
Obviously AAA's termination of the membership of these four members had NOTHING to do with their terms lapsing and everything to do with standing in Gennarini's way to get the title to the Yona Property transferred to his control.
However, if it was true what AAA said in his November 16, 2011 letter to Richard Untalan about the property remaining in the control of the Archbishop regardless of who it is assigned to, then why was it necessary to remove the members of the AFC who opposed it?
Answer. Because AAA is lying again and he knows it. RMS may be a corporation-sole, but it is NOT in the sole control of AAA, as he claims. It is, according to Article X of the RMS Articles of Incorporation, in the control of the Board of Guarantors which consists of Archbishop Apuron, a certain Fr. Angelo Pochetti, and (guess who?) Mr. and Mrs. Big: Giuseppe and Claudia Gennarini.
In fact, AAA himself recently confirmed that RMS is an entity separate from the Archdiocese of Agana when he stated in Disclosure of Financial Statements of the Archdiocese of Agana as found on the archdiocesan website, that the finances of RMS would be disclosed separately on its own website. (Of course the finances were never disclosed.)
There is also the very clear reprimand from Archbishop Charles Balvo, the then papal delegate to the Pacific. In a letter dated March 7, 2012, three months after AAA fired the members of the finance council who opposed him, Archbishop Balvo wrote AAA:
The establishment of a finance council, diocesan and parish, is required by the Code of Canon Law…(the finance council) has a deliberative vote…when the diocesan finance council is asked to give its consent, the diocesan bishop is to receive the consent of an absolute majority of those present, and if he acts against this consent he does so invalidly. Regarding the matter at hand…consent is required not only from the finance council but also from the college of consultors. If these do not give their consent, the diocesan bishop is not free to do as he pleases.
There is also the fact that AAA's own archdiocesan legal counsel opined that from a civil point of view, there was NO difference between an alienation and and assignment, as AAA wants us to believe, and that "Any documents containing these words would place a huge cloud on title to real property which would result in a protracted litigation and prohibitive cost to remove such cloud."
AAA tries to hide his dirty dealings behind church canons but a civil court will not give a wit about church canons. It is clear that assigning the property to RMS will cloud the title and make it almost "prohibitive" to retrieve.
So did AAA assign the title to the Yona Property to RMS?
Actually, he wouldn't even have to assign "the title", he could simply assign the control of the property to RMS and it would be of the same effect.
Let's say that he did. If so, he is probably in violation of the following church laws:
Can. 1291 The permission of the authority competent according to the norm of law is required for the valid alienation of goods which constitute by legitimate designation the stable patrimony of a public juridic person and whose value exceeds the sum defined by law.
Can. 1292 §1. Without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 638, §3, when the value of the goods whose alienation is proposed falls within the minimum and maximum amounts to be defined by the conference of bishops for its own region, the competent authority is determined by the statutes of juridic persons if they are not subject to the diocesan bishop; otherwise, the competent authority is the diocesan bishop with the consent of the finance council, the college of consultors, and those concerned. The diocesan bishop himself also needs their consent to alienate the goods of the diocese.
§2. The permission of the Holy See is also required for the valid alienation of goods whose value exceeds the maximum amount, goods given to the Church by vow, or goods precious for artistic or historical reasons.
Remember now that according to AAA's legal counsel, "alienation" and "assignment" are WORDS OF DISTINCTION WITHOUT A DIFFERENCE. And in matters of title to real property, the archdiocese is subject to civil statute, not just church law. Thus even assigning constitutes an alienation and AAA CANNOT do so without:
1. the consent of the finance council
2. the consent of the college of consultors
3. those concerned (which could be all of us)
4. permission of the Holy See because the value "exceeds the maximum amount" (one million)
In addition, since the value of the real property "exceeds the maximum amount", any manipulation of the title to the property or its control is subject to the following:
Can. 1293 §1. The alienation of goods whose value exceeds the defined minimum amount also requires the following:
1/ a just cause, such as urgent necessity, evident advantage, piety, charity, or some other grave pastoral reason;
2/ a written appraisal by experts of the asset to be alienated.
§2. Other precautions prescribed by legitimate authority are also to be observed to avoid harm to the Church.
Can. 1294 §1. An asset ordinarily must not be alienated for a price less than that indicated in the appraisal.
§2. The money received from the alienation is either to be invested carefully for the advantage of the Church or to be expended prudently according to the purposes of the alienation.
Lastly, there is this:
Can. 1295 The requirements of ⇒ cann. 1291-1294, to which the statutes of juridic persons must also conform, must be observed not only in alienation but also in any transaction which can worsen the patrimonial condition of a juridic person.
Did you get that? It doesn't even have to be an "alienation", but simply "any transaction which can worsen the patrimonial condition of a juridic person", and certainly the assignment of control of the Yona Property to any other entity that is NOT the Archdiocese of Agana (and RMS is not), will certainly "worsen the patrimonial condition" of this archdiocese.
It is a crying shame that while individual parishes and schools struggle to stay alive and parishioners and parents dig deep to keep their parishes and schools afloat, Archbishop Apuron, after stealing from us for nearly two decades telling us RMS was "our seminary", when in fact it belongs to the Neocrats, goes and gives them a 75 million dollar asset for nothing.
The Apostolic Visitors need to find out the truth. If in fact, Archbishop Apuron has "worsened the patrimonial condition" of this archdiocese in any real estate transaction with the Neocrat controlled RMS, he should be REMOVED immediately.
However, removing him won't solve the problem. If he has given control of the property to the Neocrats then there is nothing the Apostolic Visitors can civilly do about it. It is, as Atty. Terlaje warned, under "a huge cloud on title to real property" and will "result in a protracted litigation and prohibitive cost to remove such cloud."
Thank you, Archbishop Apuron. Thank you for selling us out.
Meanwhile, I think the Concerned Catholics of Guam, Inc. should look into how it can file a class action law suit against the Archbishop if in fact he did this. The Archbishop may be a corporation-sole, but according to the laws of Guam, a corporation-sole functions as a trustee, and we, the Catholics of Guam are the beneficiaries.