The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has told a bankruptcy court it has assets of at least $45.2 million, not including the Cathedral of St. Paul and other property whose value it has yet to establish.
The tally of assets is part of a detailed look at the archdiocese’s real estate and personal property, recent payments, and amounts owed creditors filed late Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Minnesota. The schedules offer a rare glimpse into the finances of the archdiocese, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Jan. 16, becoming the 12th Catholic organization to file for bankruptcy in the clergy sex abuse scandal.
The archdiocese, its insurers and victims were all swiftly ordered into mediation, which is underway. Both the $45.2 million in assets and $15.9 million in liabilities are preliminary numbers, and likely will change.
The amounts the archdiocese owes those who were sexually abused by priests are listed “unknown” in the new schedules. In its initial bankruptcy filing, the church estimated that it owes between $50 million and $100 million.
Likewise, the schedules list as “unknown” the value of key chunks of real estate, such as the century-old cathedral and the land under three Catholic high schools. The schools lease the land for $1 a year.
Estimated values of those properties are tucked in notes: $21.2 million for the cathedral property, and at least $13 million for the combined value of the land under DeLaSalle, Totino-Grace and Benilde-St. Margaret’s high schools. Including these values would boost the archdiocese assets to nearly $80 million.
Obtaining exact market valuations for all of its properties would be expensive and an inefficient use of resources, the archdiocese said in the filings.
One property the archdiocese put a value on is the chancery across the street from the cathedral. That complex, at 226 Summit Av. in St. Paul, includes the residence of Archbishop John Nienstedt. The chancery has a market value of about $6.3 million, according to the filing. But the filing also noted that a private estimate put the value at about $2.5 million to $3.5 million and that there was significant deferred maintenance.
The schedules detail an assortment of payments made as bankruptcy approached.
Since October, the archdiocese has paid $1.6 million to Briggs and Morgan, the Minneapolis law firm it hired to guide it through bankruptcy.
It also paid $53,946 to Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C., the law firm that also represents the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in its ongoing bankruptcy.
On Dec. 31, it paid $44,000 to the Meadows of Wickenburg, a trauma and addiction facility in Arizona.
A breakdown of the archdiocese’s personal property shows various bank and other financial accounts holding nearly $24 million; jewelry worth $265,400, and a modest collection of vehicles that includes three Buicks, a Chrysler and a Ford Fusion.
As for liabilities, the archdiocese has three creditors holding secured claims — three local financial institutions to whom it owes $14.4 million. Secured creditors are typically paid first in bankruptcies.
People claiming they’ve been sexually abused by priests, as well as other parties, are categorized as creditors holding “unsecured nonpriority” claims totaling $810,350. There are 21 victims with claims in the filing, all listed as “Doe,” but the number of victims and the total amount of claims are expected to dwarf those amounts.
Jeff Anderson, the St. Paul attorney representing many of them, said he doesn’t pay much attention to early disclosures, which he described as “superficial.”
“We have professionals that have the ability to scrutinize the disclosures and everything behind it,” Anderson said. “That is being done.”
Anderson would not discuss the ongoing mediation.
In a statement posted on the archdiocese website, Nienstedt called the latest financial filings “necessary steps of transparency and accountability and essential in finding some measure of justice for those harmed by clergy sexual abuse.”
“I pray that the reorganization process continues to move this local church forward on the journey toward restoring trust and healing for us all,” he said.