U.S. archdiocese in bankruptcy court asks permission to pay workers

.- The Archdiocese of Portland has asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for permission to pay its 112 employees, reported The Oregonian.

The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy protection July 6 in the face of numerous sexual abuse cases. Decisions in these court cases could require the archdiocese to pay millions of dollars in compensation, which it just does not have.

The Archdiocese of Portland is only one of several dioceses which have considered filing for bankruptcy as a means to protect their pastoral works and ministry from the courts.

Though the Archdiocese of Portland’s revenues are up to about $15.7 million this year, compared with $9.9 million last year, the archdiocese, having filed for Chapter 11 protection, cannot distribute these funds as usual. 

Under bankruptcy law, the archdiocese would be required to transfer all the money in its current accounts into new general, payroll and tax accounts. The new accounts would require signature cards, indicating that the archdiocese can continue to operate itself.

However, the archdiocese is asking the court to excuse it from that requirement. Switching to new accounts, it said, would disrupt operations and create expenses for new checks and other business forms.

The archdiocese's chief financial officer, Leonard Vuylsteke, said in a filing that the archdiocese will have to issue paychecks to a total of about $382,000 to its 90 full-time and 22 part-time employees by July 31. In addition, the archdiocese spends more than $100,000 a month to provide numerous employee benefits. Medical and prescription insurance alone costs $75,000 a month.

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