Saturday, September 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Fairfield church, SoCal man fight over six-figure bequest

27 mt carmel 1

A car drives by Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Fairfield, Wednesday. Officials from Our Lady of Mount Carmel say $166,954 has been requested to the parish by a donor. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | March 27, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church contends John O’Brien has nearly $167,000 a parishioner willed to the Catholic church – but diverted by a since-deceased pastor into a private account.

O’Brien, who lives in Los Angeles County, says he has only part of the funds and that all of the money was intended for the retirement of the Rev. Thomas Meyer, the church’s pastor until his death in 2009.

The Southern California man said he will follow Meyer’s wishes for the money and had long known Meyer, a member of the Carmelite Order, whose religious name was Sebastian. O’Brien, who delivered the eulogy at the 2009 funeral Mass for the pastor, said Meyer died at the age of 76, a week before his planned retirement. He died of a heart attack after minor surgery, O’Brien said.

Meyer raised millions of dollars and made it possible for Mount Carmel to open a new church building in 2003, O’Brien said.

O’Brien declined to detail how Meyer wanted the money spent, but said he would talk about that and other matters when the case is resolved. He said the financial transactions, when compared with Mount Carmel and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento’s claims for the funds, are compelling.

“It would shock most people when they see all the details laid out,” O’Brien said.

Diocese spokesman Kevin Eckery said the issue a simple, straightforward financial matter: the Rev. Meyer lacked the legal authority to transfer funds but did so, Eckery said.

“It was never his money to begin with,” he said.

Meyer was near the end of his life and wasn’t well, Eckery said.

“He wasn’t himself,” the diocese spokesman said.

A lawsuit filed by Mount Carmel in Solano County Superior Court contends that a routine audit conducted after a change in pastors after Meyer’s death led to the discovery that the pastor had wrongfully converted the money.

Trial setting is scheduled for April 10 in the suit, which was filed in 2012.

Mount Carmel parishioner John J. Vernon named Meyer as beneficiary of the funds in his credit union account, according to a court document filed for O’Brien. But the credit union after Vernon’s death in 2008 made the $166,954 check payable to Mount Carmel when the check should have named Meyer, the filing contends.

Because of how the check was written, Meyer was forced to deposit it into a bank account in Mount Carmel’s name, the filing adds. Shortly before his death, Meyer withdrew from the parish bank account the exact amount he received upon Vernon’s death and deposited it into a joint bank account of Meyer along with John and Kathleen O’Brien, the legal filing adds.

Mount Carmel church said in court documents that it sent the O’Briens a letter in 2009 demanding return of the funds but that the couple refused to do so. O’Brien said his wife is not involved in the matter and that he’s offered to discuss issues surrounding the finances but that the church instead filed the lawsuit.

O’Brien said he informed church officials about the funds and it’s inaccurate that an audit revealed the problem.

During a phone interview Wednesday, he called Meyer someone who “dedicated his entire life to doing work for God.”

“Does that make any sense?” O’Brien asked about the assertion that Meyer diverted church funds.

Mount Carmel has a portion of the money, O’Brien said, and the church received additional, separate funds from Vernon.

“They were given plenty of money but they want more,” O’Brien said.

He lamented what he said the church and the Sacramento diocese have done to Meyer by the lawsuit.

“It’s a shame what they’ve done to his name after what he did for them – an absolute shame,” O’Brien said.

“Everything,” he said, will “exonerate his good name.”

Eckery said Mount Carmel seeks what parishioner Vernon willed the church.

“We have a fiduciary obligation to the parishioners who contribute,” the diocese spokesman said.

He said the financial issues raised in the lawsuit involving a since-deceased pastor are rare, but happen.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church referred questions about the suit to the Sacramento diocese. The Rev. David Fontaine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel said Wednesday: “I know nothing about it. I have nothing to do with this. I just inherited the problem.”

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or rmccarthy@dailyrepublic.net.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Solano jobless rate drops, jobs rise

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
 
Memorial focuses on hope, healing from addiction

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Vacaville High graduate shines at tech event

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
Highway 37 detours in place

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
New law aimed at urban water district reports

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Travis celebrates KC-10′s 20 years at base

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Maintenance begins on Rio Vista Bridge Sunday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Mother gives late daughter a voice by helping others

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B8, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Fairfield police log: Sept. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
.

US / World

Record-setting retardant used on California fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
UC campus chancellors granted hefty pay raises

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Brown vetoes diaper changing-station bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Oakland mother charged in cocaine death of son, 2

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Feds approve California’s immigrant license words

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
California man accused of killing fellow gym-goer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

California school gender equity ruling upheld

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
State to ban smoking at home day cares

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Driver of stolen van that hit dog gets prison time

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
License plate scanner networks capture movements

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Fence-jumper makes it into the White House

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
After vote to stay in UK, Scots must heal divide

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Florida town knew shooter had troubled past

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Daughter calls Utah doctor a monster at sentencing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

3 guilty in Ga. salmonella-tainted peanut trial

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Fierce fighting in Yemeni capital kills 120

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Sierra Leone begins 3-day Ebola lockdown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Ambush suspect could be aided by dense woods

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

France joins US against Islamic State over Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments

 
.

Opinion

Fairfield Ford boosts animal adoption efforts

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Lots of services available for Solano veterans

By Ted Puntillo | From Page: A8

Cheers, jeers for the week of Sept. 14-20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Editorial cartoons for Sept. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Sept. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Sept. 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
Make sure you get educated during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

 
.

Entertainment

 
Fallon to pay up, broadcast show in Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

 
.

Sports

 
A’s Lester holds Phillies to 5 hits in 7 innings in 3-1 victory

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Big plays in second half lift Vanden past Center

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

 
Legs power Mustangs in win over Falcons

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B1 | Gallery

49ers’ Davis, McDonald questionable for Sunday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Stewart slogs through tough day at New Hampshire

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Rio Vista gets easy football win over Delta

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Keselowski wins pole at New Hampshire

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Gordon has suspension reduced to 10 games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
After NFL, baseball addresses domestic violence

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Goodell: ‘Same mistakes can never be repeated’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kershaw gets 20th win as Dodgers pound Cubs 14-5

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Raiders could be down 2 starters on defense

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sharks open with new vibe after playoff collapse

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

This date in sports history for Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

The Kuro taste: Peppery tang and hint of squid ink

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Pabst Brewing to be sold to Russian company

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

China fines GlaxoSmithKline $492M for bribery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Procter & Gamble cancels on-field NFL promotion

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

California adopts olive-oil labeling standards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4, 1 Comment

 
Yahoo rakes in another jackpot from Alibaba’s IPO

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Alibaba stock soars in jubilant trading debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Obituaries

Charles Randolph Orr

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Corazon Libunao Thompson

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Allie M. Zell-Jones

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
George Junior Rhode

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
.

Home Seller 09/20/14

Average US 30-year mortgage rate at 4.23 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2

Real estate transactions for Sept. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3

New Standard Pacific models in Vacaville

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3