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Residence Sale Criticized

Editor, News-Register:

Seems the Catholic Diocese is at it again, selling the disgraced bishop’s residence quietly in a behind-closed- doors deal recently.

In a letter to the 78,000-plus Catholics in West Virginia, Archbishop William Lori said in June he would immediately list the bishop’s residence for sale. Somehow that listing never happened, even after a local news channel confirmed that indeed it was going on the market.

The next thing anyone knew was the article in the paper that it was sold. The new leadership promised transparency and accountability, but it seems it was not listed on the market by any real estate firm to maximize profit. The local diocese’s answer was that they wanted to save the real estate fees.

A spokesperson also confirmed they wanted a local family to own it and asked for sealed bids with qualifications including a reserve. Sure you want a reserve; why not auction it with that same reserve? Or list it high and negotiate like everyone else does? They wanted the victims of sexual abuse to get the most money possible didn’t they? Maybe they didn’t want any more bad press?

How about the fact it was appraised for 20% more by the Ohio County assessor and it sold for only $1.30 per square foot? Sounds low, huh? Since Bransfield dumped over $4.5 million in renovations it seems to be worth more than $1.2 million to the many victims of his antics and intimidation, not counting his spending like a drunken sailor.

Instead of being accountable and transparent, the diocese did what they do best, hand pick an owner. Anyone who has the way and means to buy the residence should have been able to purchase it on the open market. That’s transparency and accountability, plus the right thing to do.

The diocese has had enough bad press and shame by Bransfield’s deeds, so they hushed up deal on a beautiful lavishly ordained mansion for less than market value. Maybe I’m wrong, but I feel the house was worth way more than what it sold for. Quoting my dear mom, “this stinks to high heaven.”

Michael Hudimac

Wheeling

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