Tuesday, January 27, 2015
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

 
Health officials report 1st Solano flu death

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Fairfield man who says he accidentally kicked woman, faces charges

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
 
American Legion Post schedules head-shaving fundraiser

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A6

Rush Ranch seeks docents

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A2

 
Dramas, thrillers lead week’s box office openings

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B6

Vacaville Toastmasters welcome guests

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

 
Kroc Health Fair offers free screenings

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1

 
Chipotle fundraiser to benefit Armijo newspaper

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

Vacaville council eyes earlier start time

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page:

 
.

US / World

Facebook suffers outage affecting users worldwide

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Private wells in California farm area show high uranium

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Budget for Koch-backed network: almost $1 billion for 2016

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ex-Army prosecutor found guilty of rape at court-martial

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

California may dam 3 Delta channels, if drought persists

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Law enforcement wants popular police-tracking app disabled

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Gov’t to overhaul Medicare payments to doctors, hospitals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cuban youth build secret computer network despite Wi-Fi ban

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Seekers of the Hollywood Sign disrupt nearby neighborhood

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
2 small planes crash-land off Hawaii; all aboard survive

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Report: State worker sent alarming notes before gun arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Panic attack, bad back: Theater shooting brings jury excuses

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Lawyer: Boy Scout files depict ‘sordid’ history of abuse

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Dwindling group of survivors to mark Auschwitz 70 years on

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

New Jersey’s Christie launches political action committee

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
US drone strikes resume in Yemen despite turmoil

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Monster snowstorm swirls into densely populated Northeast US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Kurds celebrate ousting Islamic State fighters from Kobani

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Man takes responsibility for drone over White House

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

2 sides to state highways rehab backlog

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Jan. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
.

Entertainment

Petty earns writing credit for Sam Smith’s ‘Stay With Me’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
National Cowboy Poetry Gathering begins in northeast Nevada

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Trainor and Styles write a duet about heartbreak

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Emma Watson to star in live-action ‘Beauty and the Beast’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
SAG Awards win sends ‘Birdman’ Oscar hopes soaring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Cumberbatch says sorry for calling black actors ‘colored’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
A murder at the edge of the world takes ‘Fortitude’ to crack

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Lawyers: Melissa Rivers files lawsuit in mother Joan’s death

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Sundance Watch: ‘Cobain’ premieres, women talk Hollywood

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

TVGrid Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
.

Sports

Manfred knows he’ll get hit as commish _ his name is on ball

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
NASCAR to leave championship format unchanged in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Kobe Bryant to have shoulder surgery, likely out for season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Tim Brown hopes 6th time is charm in Hall of Fame vote

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raiders sign Charles Woodson for 2015 season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Rams notify St. Louis they’ll go year-to-year on dome lease

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Gamecocks still No. 1; Chattanooga joins women’s hoops poll

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Scott Dixon shines in masterful final drive in Rolex win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
LeBron, Cavs climb in standings, back in title conversation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Capitals among East contenders; West race too tight to call

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Playoff not interested in moving semis of New Year’s Eve

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Fireworks help celebrate Venus Williams’ Australian Open run

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
US women to host New Zealand, Ireland, Mexico, South Korea

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

NBA D-League All-Star events set for Feb. 15 in Brooklyn

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
AP Source: Los Angeles Kings release Mike Richards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Hope Solo could be left off US World Cup roster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Employers: Agreement made on key issue in port labor dispute

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Lyft cars doing away with pink furry mustache

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

California draws $3.2 billion in federal health subsidies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Hard Rock (again) dips toe into Atlantic City casino market

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

US stock market finishes with small gains

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
IBM disputes report that big layoffs coming

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Union says California Kaiser nurses reach contract agreement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Boeing, SpaceX will beat Russia on price for astronaut rides

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

CBO: Deficit to shrink to lowest level of Obama presidency

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Eurozone looks for dialogue after stunning Greece elections

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

S&P downgrades Russia credit rating to junk

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Obituaries

Donald Wesley Johnson

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Rose is Rose Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Cryptoquote Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
For Better or Worse Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Bridge Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Garfield Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Crossword Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Pickles Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Word Sleuth Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Frank and Ernest Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sudoku Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Blondie Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4