July 15, 2005

Settlement by diocese seen as model

Case Grande Valley Newspapers

By ARTHUR H. ROTSTEIN, Associated Press July 14, 2005

TUCSON - The successful completion this week of the Tucson Roman Catholic diocese's bankruptcy case was a triumph of negotiation and compromise over contention.

It could serve as a potential model, but it's unlikely to have much impact on two more acrimonious diocesan bankruptcies playing out in the West, according to bankruptcy experts and other specialists who have followed the sex abuse scandals plaguing the Catholic church nationwide.

The effect of the Tucson case, which gives some abuse victims at least $600,000, on ongoing bankruptcy cases involving the Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., and the Diocese of Spokane, Wash., is not obvious, said Samuel Gerdano, executive director of the American Bankruptcy Institute in Alexandria, Va.

"The cases are different, even though they start with a seemingly common thread," Gerdano said. "They're proceeding very differently."

In Tucson, he said, the diocese proactively put some money on the table and "indicated a willingness to get to a plan" as part of a negotiating process typical in Chapter 11 reorganization cases.

Posted by kshaw at July 15, 2005 07:24 AM