Thursday, August 21, 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

First day back to school brings laughter, jitters

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Potrero Hills Landfill legal appeals exhausted

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

Railroad crossing stalemate continues

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
Breakfast after the Bell wins support

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

Fairfield candidates hear about lean, nimble city staff

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
Suisun city employees get pay raise

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

Girls on the Run seeks volunteer life coaches

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

 
College finalizes police department takeover, OKs bond plan

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Free e-waste collection to benefit Scarlet Brigade

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Fairfield mayor to appear at GOP dinner

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Suisun City police log: Aug. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Weather for Aug. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

.

US / World

Governor criticizes new-hire pension enhancements

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
US mission to rescue hostages in Syria failed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

US official: More airstrikes in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Beheading spurs new attacks on Islamic militants

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Militants use British killer as propaganda

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
School sorry for making special ed kids sort trash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Police seek mystery pair in selfies after burglary

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Teens deny threatening boy in school shooting plot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Panel OKs state librarian despite initial concerns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Navy kicks out 34 for nuke cheating

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

CHP says officer may face serious beating charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
8 homes destroyed, 1,500 threatened by wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Drought has state debating its unregulated pumping

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Holder says he understands mistrust of police

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Liberian slums barricaded as Ebola sets new record

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
North Korea insults John Kerry over his looks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Ukrainian govt troops take over much of Luhansk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Picture emerges of officer in Ferguson shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

 
Tell the story, don’t be it

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A7

Everyone can benefit from ‘the talk’

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7

 
We’re spending way too much on raising our kids

By Megan Mcardle | From Page: A7

Editorial Cartoons: Aug. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
California needs pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7

.

Living

Today in History: Aug. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Aug. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Aug. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Why do parents drink alcohol after their children’s games?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
And the Emmy winners are…? We’re happy to guess!

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Aniston, Hamm, Hudson set to Stand Up to Cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Emmys: Billy Crystal to pay tribute to Williams

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

.

Sports

Peavy pitches Giants to 8-3 win over Cubs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
WR Stevie Johnson adds depth to 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Fairfield boxer Avila set to put perfect 15-0 record on the line

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Giants win protest, rain-shortened game to resume Thursday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

A’s stumble and must regroup with Angels coming

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raiders FB Reece’s injury not as bad as feared

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Las Vegas spoils Mo’ne’s night, beats Philly 8-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sharks F Torres undergoes surgery on right knee

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

US routs Dominicans in exhibition as Rose rests

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Schilling blames chewing tobacco for mouth cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Reality check for Phelps at Pan Pacific Champs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kent State starting center dies at 21

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Serena Williams seeded No. 1 at US Open; Halep 2nd

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Tony Stewart skipping 3rd straight race after Ward’s death

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

This date in sports history for Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Sports on TV for Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B4

.

Business

Brine firm sues over biblical fracking billboard

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Apple’s stock bounces back to hit a new high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

BofA reaches $17B settlement with US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Obituaries

George ‘Wayne’ Hause

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Sharon Ilene Boyd

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

David G. Gibson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Charles (Chuck) H. Doty

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

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

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9