“The measure of a man is what he does with power” – Part Two

By dogcatcher on March 15th, 2017

Plato 428 BC to 348 BC Part Two

Let’s begin part two of this article by examining selected issues as they apply to the Metropolis of Chicago. Let us delve into the individuals involved and the status of what is now commonly referred to as the “Dokos mess.” First among all issues is what was the legal standard of conduct required by Fr. Dokos as the trustee of the Ervin and Margaret Franczak Trust (the “Trust”)? What does a trustee do, what are a trustee’s obligations and what is the penalty for not meeting those?

Trustee’s Standard of Care and Legal Obligations:

A person who holds the assets (corpus) of a Trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries [in the Franczak Trust, the named beneficiaries are the American Cancer Society, the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church and the others listed below] and manages the trust and its assets under the terms stated in the Trust. Central to management is the duty to follow the exact terms of the trust and protect the assets.

What were the directions to Fr. Dokos as Trustee of the Franczak Trust:

Trust in question was amended for an eighth and final time in May, 2007. The terms of the Trust dictated that the assets of the Trust would be distributed as follows {Editor’s note: language here is taken from the Criminal Complaint filed against then defendant Fr. James Dokos}: “A. $5,000 to the Trustee for all work done by the Trustee B. Any automobile and real property as well as the contents of the real property went to the defendant as long as he survived the Grantor. C. $5,000 was to be paid to the American Cancer Society, Florida Division. D. $10,000 was to be paid to a church located in Clearwater, Florida. E. $5,000 to the American Heart Association F. The rest, remainder and residue of the Trust Assets were to go to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church to be used exclusively for the construction and maintenance of a Cultural Center. Declaration of Trust which created it.”

What criminal conduct did the criminal complaint allege?

A criminal complaint was filed against defendant Fr. James Dokos with the following caption “STATE OF WISCONSIN CIRCUIT COURT CRIMINAL DIVISION MILWAUKEE COUNTY CRIMINAL COMPLAINT STATE OF WISCONSIN DA Case No.:2014ML013395” It contained various allegations including but not limited to the following: “The above-named defendant between July 2008 and October 2012, at 9400 West Congress Street, in the City of Wauwatosa, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, as trustee , having possession of money of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, having a value exceeding $10,000, did transfer such money without the owner’s consent, contrary to the defendant’s authority, and with intent to convert said property to his own use or to the use of any other person except the owner, contrary to sec. 943.20(1)(b) and (3)(c), 939.50(3)(g) Wis. Stats.” The criminal complaint also alleged the following: “During the period from August 2008 through October 2012, the defendant spent more than $110,000 of Trust monies by writing checks outside the terms of the Trust. A great deal of this money was spent on clearly personal expenditures. The defendant wrote 3 checks totaling $550 to his daughter. The memo entry on each of these checks indicates they were gifts. He wrote six checks totaling $1,150 to his mother. The defendant paid his own Time Warner cable bill with Trust funds. He also used Trust funds to pay a number of his personal medical expenses. He wrote five checks additional checks to himself totaling $3,050. The defendant also wrote Trust checks totaling over $57,000 to pay his personal Bank of America credit card bill. Your complaining witness examined these bills and met with representatives of the church to determine whether these purchases were made for personal purposes, or whether the funds were spent for church purposes. Your complaining witness found that the defendant used trust monies to pay for numerous personal items, including $5,000 of Trust monies to pay for jewelry for his wife. This large jewelry purchase coincided with the change on the Trust checking account from the church address to the defendant’s home address. The defendant also used Trust monies to pay for trips for his wife and daughter, shopping at upper end stores like Nordstrom’s, Neiman Marcus, Dior and David Yurman. Trust monies were also used to decorate the defendant’s home for Christmas. Based on his review of those records and meetings with Church officials your complaining witness determined that at least $17,000 in Trust monies was spent on these personal items. The defendant’s credit card records showed that in addition to the over $17,000 in purely personal purchases he spent over $20,000 at upper end restaurants. He often dined at Flemings in Brookfield.” But more disturbing to members of our Editorial board are the checks written from the Trust account to our Hierarchs, thus creating a conflict of interest. Absolutely none of these checks were authorized by the Trust. At the time these checks were issued, these checks decreased the funds available to the listed beneficiaries of the Trust. And yet, despite of this conflict of interest, the Metropolis of Chicago filed and requested a court order, to seal a letter from Metropolitan Iakovos attached to Fr. Dokos’ “DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO FILE AND MAINTAIN UNDER SEAL DOCUMENT SUPPORTING MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION” (“Motion”). Here is part of that Motion that attempts to rationalize keeping us in the darkness: “5. Public disclosure of Metropolitan Iakovos’s letter regarding those Procedures in the context of addressing this Court’s jurisdiction would violate the confidentiality requirements of the proceedings under ecclesiastical law and also would result in an impermissible public intrusion into the internal free exercise of the tenets of the Greek Orthodox faith. 6. Nonetheless, the Metropolitan recognizes that his letter is critical to this Court’s analysis of whether this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over Father Dokos’s authority to use church funds, as it inherently requires inquiry into the Regulations, tenets and practices of the Greek Orthodox Church. 7. The Metropolitan has proposed the compromise of requesting that his letter be submitted under seal and not be disclosed to the public.” What did Metropolitan Iakovos’s letter state that “would violate the confidentiality requirements of the proceedings under ecclesiastical law and also would result in an impermissible public intrusion into the internal free exercise of the tenets of the Greek Orthodox faith”? Metropolitan Iakovos’s letter in support of Fr. Dokos’s Motion to dismiss must be released! In part three of this article we will give you the names of the recipients of the funds and the conclusions we have reached from how this mess was “handled”.