Friday, July 25, 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

Big Chuckllz, fellow comics want to keep Fairfield laughing

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Holly Stell ready for new adventure, plans Sunday concert

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Solano actors join forces for new single, ‘Groove Me’

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
CSP Solano inmates make music for rehabilitation

By Krissi Khokhobashvili | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
 
Bay Stage filled with entertainment at Solano County Fair

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B3

 
Organizers seek riders, volunteers for Ride to Defeat Diabetes

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Friday concerts begin Aug. 1 at Solano Town Center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B3

 
Bay Area’s air district issues Spare the Air alert

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Assembly candidate Henthorn to appear at GOP dinner

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

 
Fairfield police log: July 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Daily Republic seeks good news for column

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A12, 22 Comments

 
.

US / World

Execution offers evidence against lethal injection

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Judge argues for return of firing squad executions

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 3 Comments

California removes lane splitting guidelines

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Outcry saves rare redwood from being chopped down

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

California wine collector set for sentencing on fraud charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Satellites show major groundwater loss from Colorado River

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Obama wants limits on US company mergers abroad

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Toxic algae closes Oakland’s Lake Temescal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California man gets 4 years in counterfeit case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

SF professor charged with taping students in bathroom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
House panel clears way for vote on Obama lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Feds cap fines for not buying health insurance

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
House, Senate chairs offer competing bills on VA

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 2 Comments

Doctor fired back at gunman in hospital attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
Social Security’s $300M IT project doesn’t work

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

More US girls now getting cervical cancer vaccine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Storm slams Virginia campground; 2 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Very bad week: Airline disasters come in a cluster

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Islamic militants seize part of Syrian army base

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Iraq elects new president as attacks kill dozens

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Ukrainian prime minister announces resignation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

UN school in Gaza caught in cross-fire; 15 killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Air Algerie jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

As inmate died, lawyers debated if he was in pain

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoons for July 25, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Call for tech diversity misplaced

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11

 
Is parenting being criminalized in America?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

Coyote epidemic in Fairfield

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 6 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History for July 25, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes for July 25, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
My siblings want friends to handle sale of our father’s house

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview July 25-31, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Review: Allen casts a limp spell in ‘Magic’

By Jake Coyle | From Page: B2

Review: ‘Lucy’ won’t stretch your brain capacity

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Robert Downey Jr. open to returning for ‘Iron Man 4’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Will Ferrell and Adam McKay to go wild with ‘Manimal’ movie

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B2

Kiss, Usher, J.Lo to perform at Fashion Rocks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Pop star Azalea talking fashion on MTV

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Jon Bon Jovi to be honored for humanitarian work

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Malkovich, Cumberbatch make Comic-Con premieres

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Entertainment calendar July 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
Stonestreet: Acceptance will grow for gay athletes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Moss powers A’s past Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Eagles soar past Expos in Area 1 tourney

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7

Hudson solid, Hammels better in Giants’ loss to Phillies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Indians win 14-8 over Mudcats

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B7

49ers’ Smith plans to meet soon with Commissioner Goodell

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Pucker up! NASCAR returns to Brickyard

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Manning getting used to new faces on Broncos

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Raiders CB Hayden to start camp on PUP

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Nibali wins Stage 18, closes in on Tour victory

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
AP source: Gordon to meet with league Aug. 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Langer leads British Senior by 2 after 1st round

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
A’s Johnson designated for assignment

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Taiwan sweeps US in 1st day of International Crown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
AP Source: NFL stadium sites explored in Toronto

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

2 Texas football players charged with sexual assault

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Cavs sign Wiggins, who can’t be traded for 30 days

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Suspended WR Blackmon arrested on drug complaint

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Signups for Friday, July 25, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

Ravens RB Rice receives 2-game suspension from NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Lynch expected to hold out from Seahawks camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Putnam, Petrovic share Canadian Open lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
Sports on TV/Local sports for Friday, July 25, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

This date in sports history for Friday, July 25, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Weather for July 25, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

.

Business

LR4 is updated for fuel efficiency

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1

 
Ford’s green push

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: C2

Varying health premium subsidies worry consumers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
US unemployment aid applications drop to 284,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Dunkin’ pushing cashiers to ‘upsell’ in afternoons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Court throws out Chiquita terror payment claims

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Bombardier restructuring cuts 1,800 jobs globally

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

US new-home sales plummet in June

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Across US job market, layoffs are becoming rare

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

Nelson Max Allen

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Shirley T. ‘Mac’ McFadden

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 5 Comments

Mary Bell Scrivner Sanders

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Arturo Montenegro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Mary Spingola Stagnaro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
.

Solano County Fair 2014

Cultural exhibits, entertainment are fair highlights

By Solano County Fair | From Page: SCF2 | Gallery

Bay Stage talent competitions, nightly karaoke party

By Solano County Fair | From Page: SCF3

Jack & Bernice Newell Junior Livestock Auction returns to fair

By Solano County Fair | From Page: SCF4 | Gallery

Big names, big sounds grace fair stage

By Solano County Fair | From Page: SCF4 | Gallery

Bay Stage welcomes wide array of entertainers

By Solano County Fair | From Page: SCF15 | Gallery

Solano shines at fair’s County and Cities Expo

By Solano County Fair | From Page: SCF16