Monday, April 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 [email protected]

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

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

     
    Paint the Town Purple; and Roxie

    By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

     
    City Coach hosts first block party

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

    Bid Corderos Park, city staff recommends

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

     
    White minister fought for civil rights in the South

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

    Farmers markets herald return of summer

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

     
    Denim and Diamonds fundraiser set May 16

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

     
    Crash claims life of Concord teen

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

    Biz Buzz: Dutch Bros. plans ALS fundraiser

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: B7

     
    Biz Buzz: Company schedules pasta class

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: B7

     
    Biz Buzz: NorthBay offers extended hours for primary care

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B7, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Biz Buzz: Retail store helps those with autism

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: B7

    Biz Buzz: Committee schedules contractors breakfast

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B7

     
    Biz Buzz: Budweiser kicks off new parks campaign

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: B7

    .

    US / World

    Picture it: A 1,000-year exposure showing a changing Earth

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    No time to lose: Global response to Nepal quake gears up

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Japan’s prime minister goes to US to showcase close ties

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Israel says airstrike on Syrian border targeted militants

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Family, friends in Baltimore mourn death of arrested man

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    ‘Batman’ killer studied brain disorders before mass murder

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Image from the quake: Heavy damage in Nepal ancient city

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Fighting rages in Yemen’s 3rd-largest city, strikes continue

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Mountaineers, guides stream from Everest after avalanche

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Putin accuses US of supporting separatists in Russia

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Death toll in Nepal quake rises to more than 3,200

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Late spring complicates already perilous amphibian migration

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Quake agony revealed quietly on trip from Nepal airport

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Corinthian Colleges to shut down all 28 remaining campuses

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    .

    Living

    Community Calendar: April 27, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    Today in history: Monday, April 27, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Parenting: How to set boundaries on screen time

    By The Washington Post | From Page: B5

     
    Horoscope: April 28, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

    Horoscope: April 27, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

     
    My husband doesn’t want me to redecorate home he had with first wife

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

    .

    Entertainment

    TVGrid April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    TVGrid April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

    .

    Sports

    Warriors confident after sweep of Pelicans

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Giants-Rockies game postponed by rain

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Wall, Beal lead Wiz past Raptors 125-94 in Game 4 for sweep

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Paul, Clippers even series with 114-105 win over Spurs

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Ko wins Swinging Skirts for 2nd straight year

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Motorcycle rider from Livermore killed in Nevada race

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Billy Andrade and Joe Durant win Legends of Golf

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Cavs sweep Celts as James scores 27 in 101-93 victory

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    It’s here: Fight week begins with Pacquiao caravan to Vegas

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    American Pharoah completes final pre-Kentucky Derby workout

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Newgarden claims first IndyCar Series win not far from home

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Justin Rose wins in New Orleans for 7th PGA Tour title

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Elizabeth Cepeda

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

     
    Kirk Noonan

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

    Sandra King

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Janis Ruth (Sefzik) Skinner

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Dilbert April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    B.C. April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Blondie April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Frank and Ernest April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Wizard of Id April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Peanuts April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Baldo April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Garfield April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Beetle Bailey April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    For Better or Worse April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Sally Forth April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Baby Blues April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Zits April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Pickles April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Rose is Rose April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Get Fuzzy April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Cryptoquote April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Word Sleuth April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Crossword April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Sudoku April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Bridge April 28

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Get Fuzzy April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Pickles April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Wizard of Id April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Baldo April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Rose is Rose April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    For Better or Worse April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Zits April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Frank and Ernest April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Peanuts April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Dilbert April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Baby Blues April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Sally Forth April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    B.C. April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Garfield April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Beetle Bailey April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Blondie April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Cryptoquote April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

    Word Sleuth April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    Sudoku April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

    Bridge April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    Crossword April 27

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7