Dokos charged with a felony: Accused of improperly spending funds from trust account

james-dokos-2Source: FOX6Now.com

MILWAUKEE/GLENVIEW, ILLINOIS (WITI) — A Greek Orthodox priest, who used to serve in Milwaukee, accused of improperly spending more than $110,000 from a private trust has now been criminally charged.

62-year-old James Dokos — who currently lives in Chicago, was a longtime pastor at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee.

He was transferred to the Saints Peter and Paul Church in Glenview, Illinois in 2012 — where he most recently served.

Last month, Dokos was placed on unpaid administrative leave and was suspended from his duties as parish priest at the church in Glenview.

Now, Dokos is facing a criminal charge — theft (embezzlement), value exceeding $10,000 — a Class G felony charge.

The criminal complaint filed against Dokos says between July 2008 and October of 2012, Dokos improperly spent funds from a Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church trust fund.

The complaint against Dokos says a Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office investigator spoke with the president of the Parrish Council at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church on W. Congress Street in Wauwatosa.

That individual informed the investigator that the financial and business functions of the church are controlled by the Parrish Council — and that in 2013, the Parrish Council discovered that Dokos had taken monies left to the church by a trust — and had converted the monies to his own use without the knowledge or consent of the church — according to the complaint.

The complaint says the trust was established by Ervin and Margaret Franczak — and during their lifetimes, they funded the trust and acted as trustees.

In 2004, the complaint says Margaret Franczak, who was the surviving trustee, amended the trust, and named Dokos, who was the priest at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church as successor trustee in the event she was unable or unwilling to serve as trustee.

The complaint says in May of 2007, the trust was amended for the final time, when it was determined that the assets of the trust would be distributed as follows:

  • $5,000 to the trustee for all work done by the trustee
  • Any automobile and real property, as well as the contents of the real property would go to Dokos — as long as he survived the grantor.
  • $5,000 was to be paid to the American Cancer Society, Florida Division
  • $10,000 was to be paid to a church in Clearwater, Florida
  • $5,000 was to be paid to the American Heart Association
  • The rest of the money was to be used exclusively for the construction and maintenance of a cultural center at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church.

The complaint says after Margaret Franczak’s death, Dokos became the trustee for the trust.

Consistent with the terms of the trust, a condo, its contents and a vehicle owned by Margaret Franczak were liquidated and the proceeds (in excess of $40,000) were paid to Dokos.

The complaint says Dokos opened a bank account in the name of the trust in March of 2008 — and, consistent with the terms of the trust, wrote himself a check for $5,000. The complaint says he also made the payments to the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the Florida church called for in the trust.

The complaint says in July of 2008 — Dokos wrote a check to an attorney — the same attorney who had drafted a number of the amendments to the trust — in an amount exceeding $27,000.

The complaint says Dokos also wrote himself a check for $25,000 — contrary to the terms of the trust.

The complaint says in September of 2008 — Dokos wrote a check to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in excess of $1 million.

The complaint says Dokos also submitted a “Waiver of Accounting and Receipt of Beneficiary and Consent to Release Father James Dokos Jr. as Trustee” — to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church’s 2008 Parrish Council President — who signed the document.

The complaint says the 2008 Parrish Council President was led to believe (by Dokos) that the church had received all of the funds it was entitled to from the trust — and that he should sign the document.

The complaint says the 2008 Parrish Council President was unaware the trust had assets beyond the $1.1 million paid to the church by Dokos — and the Parrish Council President said when he learned there was over $100,000 in assets held by the trust after the document was signed, he said Dokos never made him aware of that — and never asked whether these monies could be kept by him, and used at his discretion.

The 2008 Parrish Council President said “he relied on Dokos, because he was the parish priest” — according to the complaint.

The complaint says the District Attorney’s Office investigator spoke with the 2013 Parrish Council President, who said the theft of the monies from the trust, allegedly by Dokos, was not discovered until 2013.

The complaint says in February of 2013, Dokos contacted the church about an insurance refund that had been paid to the church. That’s when the Parrish Council President discovered the insurance bill in question was paid for with a check written by Dokos from the trust account.

The complaint says the 2013 Parrish Council President, who had been the treasurer of the Parrish Council in 2008, said he was unaware monies remained in the trust — saying he believed the trust had been completely closed in 2008.

The 2013 Parrish Council President then worked with an attorney, who is a member of the church’s congregation, to draft a letter to Dokos requesting a copy of the trust as well as cancelled checks and tax returns.

The complaint says Dokos sent the 2013 Parrish Council President an email that said, in all caps: “I STOLE NO MONEY.” Dokos apparently told church officials the insurance item was a result of a voided check for a medical bill — and that this was his money alone — a statement the complaint says is untrue, because the check was written from the trust account, and trust records show Dokos never deposited personal funds into the trust fund account.

The complaint says Dokos told church officials he was awarded an additional legal percentage as the trustee — and that he kept this money in his trust checking account for his use — something the complaint says isn’t true, because the $25,000 check that Dokos wrote to himself beyond the terms of the trust was never deposited into the trust account.

Additionally, the complaint says Dokos’ income tax records show he never declared the $25,000 as income.

The complaint says Dokos told church officials he wasn’t hiding anything — because the trust bank account was opened using the church address — something the complaint says was true, until December of 2008 — when the address was changed to Dokos’ home address in Brookfield. The complaint says statements were sent to that address until February of 2012, when the address was changed to an address in Chicago — where statements were sent until the account was closed in October of 2012.

The complaint says Dokos told officials that the funds taken from the trust were used by him for gifts to the parish, the Metropolis and the Retreat Center — saying that all of this was done with the knowledge of an individual who was on the Retreat Center’s board.

The complaint says the investigator spoke with the Retreat Center board member — who said he was on the Parrish Council when the Franczak’s gift was received in 2008. That individual told the investigator there was never any discussion of Dokos retaining funds from the trust to use to make gifts to the parish — or anywhere else.

The complaint says this individual told the investigator the church was “in dire financial straits in 2008″ and that they “never would have agreed to let Dokos retain any of the trust monies due to the church.”

The complaint says a review of the trust fund’s assets showed that after Dokos wrote a check to the church for $1.1 million — he retained more than $45,000 in the trust account. The complaint says the trust fund continued to earn income from two annuities held by the trust through April 2012.

The complaint says despite the fact that the terms of the trust provided that any and all remaining funds in the trust should go to the church — Dokos retained control over those funds.

The complaint says during the period from August 2008 through October 2012, Dokos spent more than $110,000 — writing checks outside the terms of the trust.

The complaint says “a great deal of this money was spent on clearly personal expenditures.”

The complaint says Dokos wrote three checks to his daughter and six checks to his mother. Additionally, the complaint says he paid his own Time Warner Cable bill with trust funds. The complaint accuses him of using trust funds to pay a number of his own, personal medical expenses — and he wrote five checks to himself.

The complaint goes on to say Dokos used trust checks to pay his credit card bill — totaling $57,000. He is accused of spending $5,000 worth of trust money on jewelry for his wife. The complaint says this jewelry purchase coincided with the changing of the trust fund address to Dokos’ home address.

The complaint says additional trust money was spent by Dokos to pay for trips for his wife and daughter, shopping at stores like Nordstrom’s, Neiman Marcus, Dior and David Yurman and decorating his home for Christmas.

The complaint accuses Dokos of spending $20,000 at upper end restaurants — often at Fleming’s in Brookfield.

The complaint refers to the three church officials who told the investigator they were not aware Dokos kept monies from the trust — and did not give him permission to do anything with the trust assets — other than pay them over to the church.

The complaint says in 2008, there were 15 members of the Parrish Council — 14 of whom are still alive today.

11 of the 14 told the investigator they had no knowledge there were funds from the trust that Dokos kept — and they said because the church’s financial situation was so bleak, they would never have allowed Dokos to divert any of these funds for his own use.

The complaint says there were two individuals who were on the council who said they believed the council was told by Dokos there were additional funds — and that he was given permission to use these funds at his discretion — for church purposes.

The complaint says Dokos did have a pastoral checking account, and a pastoral credit card that he was authorized to use for church purposes. This account was funded from regular church revenues.

The complaint against Dokos says no one on the Parrish Council indicated the council had given Dokos permission to spend the trust funds on personal purposes.

Comments

  1. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

    Keep fighting to spread the Gospel, Y’all!

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    • Heracleides says:

      Like you’d know anything about that.

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      • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

        Like you’d know anything about that.

        George, I truly object to this anonymous, personal, and utterly gratuitous insult directed at Bishop Tikhon. This is not worthy of your blog site.

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        • Tom Kanelos says:

          Father Patrick, it is exactly the kind of comment which is fostered here and so many other places.

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          • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says:

            I’m with Fr. Patrick on this one. I have often disagreed with Bishop Tikhon and Dr. Stankovich, but I. , but I hope I would refrain from such insults. I usually DO agree with George,but in his shoes, I would censure such uncharitable remarks. Just one priests opinion….

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            • Fr. George Washburn says:

              The failure to censor such remarks is just one thing that makes this blog less than it could be, and far less than George and others clearly aspire for (or believe) it to be.

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              • George Michalopulos says:

                I try to censor Fr. I fail at times. Pray for me, a sinner.

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                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                  A recently published study revealed that in America the churches are losing the younger generation, and the most frequently heard complaint is;”All they ever talk about is institutional survival and sexual behavior.”

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                  • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                    This reminds me of my last Presbyterian pastor, a very nice man and all. When the Presbys finally voted to allow “active” gay clergy two years ago (now, of course, they have approved same-sex marriage) he said, “finally we can quit talking about sex all the time”. The context was that people had been going on and on for decades against the movement to “allow” this, and finally they lost and would have to shut up.

                    Of course, “these people” had never gone “on and on” about sex at all- except as a direct reaction to an implacable movement to alter the timeless sexual morality of the church.

                    I doubt if very many people here at Monomahkos, like millions of Christians, really care to keep talking about this– but they are being forced to. Frankly, in my opinion it is plain wicked to suggest that they are the ones who are “preoccupied”.

                    “Shut up, already” we’d be more than happy to do. But it’s not these ordinary Christians who don’t stop forcing this issue. And those who do will never stop– it went on for 40 years with the Presbyterians until the opposition gave up and left.

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                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                      Tim. I agree with you; however, I quoted the study “ALL they ever want to talk about is institutional survival and sexual behavior.” No where and at no tiime did I criticize discussing sexual behavior. I’m not sure what any Prresbyterian demon’s behavior has to do with that.

                      Of course, this blog has three, not two, obsessions; institutional survival, sexual behavior, and crime.

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                    • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                      Granted. On the other hand, it’s true that for so many of us “moderns”, any discussion of sexual morality is something we’d rather not hear about at all!

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                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                      Once, one avoided using the word “leg” at all, even for a grand piano’s support, lest someone think of a woman’s leg, which was not permitted in polite Christian conversation. I think the pendulum has swung far enough in the other direction, no? Anyhow, George has luckily posted something relative to Putin. Everyone on Monomakhos is an expert on Putin and the Ukraine, and we are about to be treated to authoritative opinions for the foreseeable future and homosexuality and same-sex marriage and abortion will, willy=nilly go backstage for a while. Can’t wait, can you? We’re about to hear of Uniates fascism, and Banderovtsy, not to mention the moral leadership of V. Putin.

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            • Aaron Little says:

              “uncharitable remarks”

              I read it as a statement of fact. In any sane Church jurisdiction, this “Bishop” Tikhon would have been deposed years ago for his many uncharitable remarks AND actions.

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            • Thomas Barker says:

              Fr. Andrei is talking “censure” (express disapproval) and Fr. George is talking “censor” (suppress or delete). Speaking as a rodent, the uncensored endearment assigned to me by the highly esteemed Dr. Stankovich, I find the sarcasm of Heracleides mild compared to many other comments that have been posted, whether in response to prelates or not.

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              • M. Stankovich says:

                Mr. Barker,

                If I have said it once, I have said it fifty times, I choose my words with great precision, and am not one to engage in the cheap conventions of the schoolyard. Translation: don’t play me, pal. You were crudely and disgustingly making subtle and not so subtle allusion directed at me regarding homosexuality – referring, for example to my “well worn copy of “Brokeback Mountain” – at which time I explicitly defined my definition of “rodent” as one who mixes with otherwise people of good will, spreading filth and disease. Try making such comments to the mailman and see what happens. I suspect you will find my “assignment” charity.

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              • Art Samouris says:

                Dear Thomas,
                I have a favor to ask of you. First allow me explain. I am relatively new to this blog and not familiar with some of the longstanding duels that have dotted the landscape. I was sinfully intrigued by the “rodent” reference you made. So seeing the “View all comments” link across from your name and just having put a Ritz cracker loaded with hummus in my mouth, I took a swig of water and unsuspectedly pressed the link. Much too soon before consuming the mushy mixture, I read some of your spicier comments. Getting back to the favor I ask of you; please warn us with all caps when you are about to unload on your opponent. I spent quite a few minutes cleaning my iPad and chair and scared the heck out of my dogs. Thanks in advance.

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        • What is sad is that according to the voting, you are in the minority and the perpetrator of the insult is in the majority.

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    • sort of reminds me of mitered Presbyter R. Kondratick

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    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

      mostly negative votes to my suggestion.
      Good thing I didn’t say, ‘Love one another,” right?

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  2. Piano1956 says:

    i wonder where alllll the people are over the last 10-12 months who said that this was no big deal…that there was not much money involved, that it was allll a big witch hunt. I know you’re innocent until proven guilty–in court…..in the court of public opinion? Doesn’t look too good to me. I think that the County Prosecutor’s did a thorough job..until someone shows me something else. And how about taking the witness stand to…..explain it away?

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    • timothy says:

      The Prosecutor did its job, versus the “everything-is-ok-don’t-worry” attitude of the Metropolis All very sad and it did not have to come to this scandalous situation. Greed, simony all in play here.

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    • I’ll say it again. It’s none of your business. Move along.

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      • Noen of our business? Hardly. Our fundraising efforts and stewardship efforts have built and maintained our churches and inquiring minds want to (and need to) know.

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    • DC Indexman says:

      Yes, I agree with your view here.

      I also wonder, as I recall, the leadership of the Chicago Metropolis was aggressively (to use George’s phrase) ham fisted with the parish council and president at the St. Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Glenview, IL, when they attempted to protect themselves — at the point the news on this story broke. Has any apology been given to this president and parish council?

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    • Tom Kanelos says:

      Waiting for the verdict before passing judgment.

      Furthermore, the parish council president was removed not for attacking the priest, but rather for violating the UPR by having parish council meetings without the priest.

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      • timothy says:

        Tom..

        So having a meeting without the priest in attendance is a violation of the GOA uPR? I think there was more to the removal of the president than merely this. Otherwise, we would have dozens of parish council presidents being removed monthly!

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        • Interestingly, I just reviewed the 2007 version of the UPR (the most recent I could find on the web). Article 28 concerning parish council meetings does not state that the priest must be present at parish council meetings. Perhaps there’s a newer version of the UPR containing this requirement??

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          • timothy says:

            I have served in several positions on my Council and the priest was often absent. We never received a warning or anything from our hierarch about this–I guess our priest did not care, either. Tom;s view is not reality.

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  3. J. Maropoulakis Denney says:

    κλέπτης

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  4. Art Samouris says:

    I noticed that nothing was mentioned in this story of the money that Fr. Dokos gave to Bishop Demetrios Kantzanvelos of Mokissos (Chicago) in excess of $7,000. This is the same Bishop Demetrios Kantzanvelos of Mokissos (Chicago) who had this incident investigated months ago and found no wrongdoing. This is the same Bishop Demetrios Kantzanvelos of Mokissos (Chicago) who was recently interviewed in a newspaper

    Regarding money he received from Dokos, Demetrios said it was “for pastoral visits for a four-year period,” and added that Dokos “also gave to Athenagoras…Tarasios…and Nikitas.
    “I don’t charge,” for pastoral visits, he said, “it was a gift. Don’t you think Methodios gets a gift or Athenagoras, or Iakovos? Don’t you tip the priest when he comes to baptize your baby or something?”

    Sorry, but that sure sounds like some verbal backpedaling to me, the kind I would use as a child when I was caught in a serious lie and desperately wanted to avoid the impending punishment. It was spread over FOUR YEARS; other bishops on the block did it too; I didn’t ask for it, it was a gift, and it would be inconsiderate of me to refuse it; the other bishops on the block get the gifts too; and so on …..

    I’m not sure if the tax laws with respect to bishops are different from the laity, but I’m also curious to know if these “tips” ended up being declared income.

    I’m most surely wrong in publishing my not-so-veiled accusations against Bishop Demetrios Kantzanvelos of Mokissos (Chicago) in this matter. I really do hope that Bishop Demetrios did NOT use this trust fund money for his own personal use and that he can prove to us all that it was donated to a worthy cause. This being said, Bishop Demetrios Kantzanvelos of Mokissos (Chicago) has not made himself the most beloved hierarch in the Metropolis of Chicago. In addition to this, times are tough for a lot of the laity and parishes in the Metropolis of Chicago. I would think that now is not a good time to glibly talk of $7,000 as a tip for a few visits when one of your priests has just been indicted for a major embezzlement.

    Lord have mercy on us all, and me the biggest sinner.

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    • You are so right, Art. Parishes are suffering financially and spiritually and you have a well-paid Bishop accepting “gifts.” All these “gifts” should be directed to a needy cause, even the Philoptochos for direct relief to needy organizations. The Bishops certainly don’t need the money; greed kicks in here, sadly. I wonder if we will get an accounting of all the “gifts”?

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  5. Fr. George Washburn says:

    Got your piano wires crossed, friend? Little if any posting here to say “no big deal” or “let him get away with misuse of small amounts.”

    Plenty of “let’s wait for the facts to emerge.” Some “let’s not dump on bishops who probably knew little if anything about the terms of the trust.” And a number of “what’s all the hurry to judge and crucify in the ‘court of public opinion’?”

    That’s the same court that hurled palm branches in front of a donkey …and days later shouted the verdict “crucify him” at the rider, isn’t it? Of course it doesn’t look good for Fr. James, but he’s suspended, dude. What’s the problem with letting matters take their course, and even stifling that oh-so-Christian urge to vilify him when and if he is found guilty?

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    • J. Paul Ford says:

      Fr. George Washburn,

      I’d like to pick your legal brain if it would not be inappropriate please:

      Is it normal procedure to disclose details of a complaint in a class G felony to the general public? Why would one choose to do that?

      Is a class G felony also tried by a jury?

      Because the alleged crimes take place in several different states where does the trial take place and does it make a difference?

      Could all the media attention act as grounds for dismissal or mistrial especially if it inhibits jury selection?

      I don’t understand the logic in making all these accusations known to the general public, I was hoping you might be able to shed some light. Many thanks.

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      • Fr. George Washburn says:

        Dear Mr. Ford:

        I can’t be of much help because I almost never did any criminal law, and what little I did was in CA, not WI.

        As to the level of publicity. I assume that is because it “sells newspapers” when clergy misconduct is at the heart of the claims.

        I assume that defendants in all felonies in WI have a jury trial right. In theory pretrial publicity can get a case moved to another part of the state, but in Milwaukee with a gigantic jury pool I wouldn’t expect that to happen.

        Charges can be brought in more than one state, such as the place where a trust or corporation is “domiciled” or where the alleged misconduct was “committed.” Here it seems clear WI is the state that has the most logical interests to protect (trust originated there, main beneficiary was a WI church, checks written in WI).

        sincerely,

        Fr. George

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  6. J. Paul Ford says:

    Piano 1956: Is it really necessary? I know it’s difficult to feel sympathy for the man especially since all the information currently available would indicate that he created his own misery and betrayed the trust of his parishioners, but he’s been publicly disgraced, humiliated, his sins and trespasses laid out for all the world to see. And still this is not enough for you. You would call the people to judge him and rip him to shreds. How much could you stand if you were in his position? Just curious.

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  7. Patrick Henry Reardon says:

    George, I am not convinced the right man has been indicted here.

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  8. YouPeopleClearlyDontKnowDokos says:

    …or Bishop Demetri personally. If you did, you wouldn’t even think of defending them. Those of us who have been their victims are finally feeling just a hint of justice and vindication and you want us to feel guilty about it? Do you tell all victims to feel sorry for their predators? Sorry if our desire for some justice for those spiritually abused and victimized by these terrible people makes you uncomfortable.

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  9. Fr. George Washburn says:

    As to the questions I asked a few weeks ago and Karen Menounos promised to answer off list, no, I have not heard anything.

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  10. Johnny Babarakis says:

    Does the bishop think his flock has the intelligence of actual sheep?

    Inconsiderate to refuse a gift? Unbelievable rationalization. All the bishop had to say when he was presented with his “tips” was “thank you Father Jim, but I know your parish in Milwaukee is having financial difficulties so why don’t you keep it to use for the parish or donate it to someone who doesn’t have fancy food or a nice place in the city to sleep”.

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    • timothy says:

      Bravo, Johnny! I said the same thing in an earlier post: Why not offer the “tips” to the poor, the Philoptochos, a soup kitchen. Greed and simony at play here. Disgraceful.

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  11. AreWeReallySurprised... says:

    He didn’t show up to court AGAIN due to being hospitalized for an “emergency.”

    http://my.chicagotribune.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-80804914/

    What do we think the next excuse will be? A sudden onset of leprosy (maybe an arm fell off)? He couldn’t get anyone to answer at his personal car service or preferred private jet company? Or maybe his own personal favorite excuse (he used to use this excuse to explain why he was never in his office)… He had a “business blessing.”

    I just wonder to what end he is skipping out on court. The court is threatening to arrest him (presumably for contempt of court). Does he really think this is going to just go away?

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  12. Jim of Olym says:

    Anyone in charge of a trust fund of over $1 million should demand at least two or more signatories on any check written, with a full explanation as to why the check was written. My own parish insists of two persons signing any check so the treasurer can’t go spend money on his own. Dokos was very foolish in my book, and has been hoist on his own petard. And I’m not an accountant nor even an attorney! If the hand is in the cookie jar, blame yourself if it gets stuck there!

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    • timothy says:

      Fr. Dokos was due in court again today, after car troubles and a hospitalization. Anyone know if he showed up and what happened? I wonder if Bishop D. is watching all this and wondering if he should return his “tips”–answer, Bishop, is YES!!! with a full accounting of previous ones, too.

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      • timothy says:

        Fr. Dokos showed up this afternoon and was placed on $5,000 personal recognizance bond and released. Report said he all smiles and his former secretary was in the courtroom again and outside defending him and “looking for answers.” Hmmm.she might know more than she is saying, too. And the hierarchs who have benefitted from the embezzled funds are no where to be seen; I think Fr. Dokos has been taken out of their rolodexes for sure.

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      • According to the Chicago Tribune, Fr. Dokos showed up in court and was released on a $5000 bond.

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  13. Johnny Barbarakis says:

    Does anyone else find it odd that Father Jim was suspended without pay even though he is presumed innocent until proven guilty? And that he was removed BEFORE being charged?

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    • John Pappas says:

      Not at all. As soon as Fr. Dokos became a liability for Bp. Demitri, it was over. Demitri tried to cover Dokos by bullying Milwaukee but it made the problem worse. So now Dokos has to go.

      The policy in the GOA is to get rid of scandals as fast as possible and never talk about them again. The second policy is that anyone caught in a scandal is expendable except for bishops. Bishops always protect their own.

      That’s why we hear no explanation about why Nikita was recalled from Hong Kong. Remember Anthimos? A Black Prince of the Greek Orthodox Church. He was never defrocked or even demoted but at least it wasn’t a gay scandal involving younger boys. We paid his salary for decades and still do.

      Dokos is effectively finished. Dimitri probably won’t win Metropolitan of Chicago (Bartholomew decides) but he will draw his salary until the day he dies.

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      • I thought you all might chuckle over this comment concerning the history of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina:

        7. David Keller wrote:
        I can’t find the answer, but I found something else interesting. SC had no bishop until 1795, 6 years after the 1st GC. He died in 1801, but the diocese refused to elect a Standing Committee until 1804. The new Standing Committee elected Edward Jenkins as bishop, but he refused to be consecrated. The article I was reading then says “a lingering fear of tyrannical bishops would leave South Carolina without a bishop until 1810.” I would say not a great deal has changed since 1801!

        July 21, 1:40 pm | [comment link]

        PS. GC is General Convention.

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      • timothy says:

        Oh, my, I had forgotten about the Anthimos scandal, which is what the GOA probably wants. Thank you for bring ing it back to light. And we still paid his salary after all those years? The parallels are here: GOA not speaking up, Dokos probably the fall-guy for this, and Bp. D. running for cover. So sad; simony and greed.

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  14. Ianinsky says:

    Does anyone ever read Bishop Tikhon’s posts?There seems to be a mob mentality that has censored everything he has said.I think he is more intelligent than most people on this board.I suggest honestly reading his stuff,even though you might not agree with him.”are we Christians or are we Devo?”

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    • Heracleides says:

      Sockpuppet.

      A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception. The term, a reference to the manipulation of a simple hand puppet made from a sock, originally referred to a false identity assumed by a member of an Internet community who spoke to, or about, themselves while pretending to be another person. The term now includes other misleading uses of online identities, such as those created to praise, defend or support a person or organization. A significant difference between the use of a pseudonym and the creation of a sockpuppet is that the sockpuppet poses as an independent third-party unaffiliated with the puppeteer.

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    • M. Stankovich says:

      Well, you’ve certainly got a point in my opinion, Ianinsky:

      Monkey men all
      In business suit
      Teachers and critics
      All dance the poot

      Are we not men?
      We are Devo

      (And better you said it than me, but Thumbsup nevertheless)

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    • M. Stankovich says:

      I must admit that few things amuse me more than the comments and reactions that are delivered in regard to and about Vladyka Tikhon (Fitzgerald) – Εις πολλά έτη Δέσποτα! – who has drawn the comment of one anonymous punk-rocker “Ianinsky,” who in turn has caught the attention of Vladyka’s own “Raskolnikov.” Holy Cow! Can you feel the pathos!

      I thought to myself, I personally have never read a more precise, more complete instruction as to the process of soaking one’s head as the one Vladyka delivered recently; from the exact placement of the bucket, to the temperature of the water (“tepid, not hot”), and the manner of bending precisely at the waist. Likewise, carefully, wisely, and without directly offending, in back-to-back posts, he diligently instructed a learned archpriest and a less-than-humble monk on the propriety of presuming to address and instruct an Orthodox Bishop. But most importantly, he noted to all that that some seem “unduly offended” by his comments because he is a “Bishop,” while every day, people make the most despicable comments against any and everyone without so much as a yawn. Σοφία. Ὀρθοί. Pay attention. This is wisdom.

      Everyday, one “expert” or another announces “the OCA won’t last another 20 years,” as if God Himself, the Nourisher and Upholder had spoken to them Himself. The Holy Synod of whatever jurisdiction is not “holy.” The bishops of the Church are imbeciles, thieves, homosexuals, or charlatans, and they answer to no one.. The priests are uneducated, entitled, unavailable, and overpaid. The church will be held in abeyance, this election will be overturned, this is the stupidest ever made, blah, blah, blah. THUMBS-UP! These are the smartest people in the room.

      For if any one will consider how great a thing it is for one, being a man, and compassed with flesh and blood, to be enabled to draw near to that blessed and pure nature, he will then clearly see what great honor the grace of the Spirit has vouchsafed to priests; since by their agency these rites are celebrated, and others nowise inferior to these both in respect of our dignity and our salvation. For they who inhabit the earth and make their abode there are entrusted with the administration of things which are in Heaven, and have received an authority which God has not given to angels or archangels.

      I stand with Vladyka Tikhon.

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      • Ianinsky says:

        Devo was New Wave.You are as anonymous as me.’stinkowich’,is that how you say it?Your manner of speaking in this blog reminds me of the most unpopular kid in my grammar school .and what does your acerbic attitude have to do with Christian Orthodoxy?

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        • M. Stankovich says:

          Ianinsky,

          “New Wave,” I stand corrected. As to my name, you say it, “I am standing on your tongue.” I recommend you practice in front of a mirror: “I am standing on your tongue.” After 15-20 careful repetitions, you will learn to appreciate the delicate cadence. And hopefully some manners.

          Now, one man’s acerbic is another man’s Ezekiel (and that would be from the book of the same name in the Christian Orthodox Bible). It was the contention of Prof. SS Verhovskoy that people, for the most part, say nothing to the relentless practice of morons who present their “visions” of the truth as Truth, with no other authority but themselves. For him, this simply was a matter of principle. Today, of course, there is little weight paid to “principle,” so I have also noted the diminishing threshold for truth and the increasing indifference for conjecture, speculation, and myth. Returning to Prof. Verhovskoy: “You are compelled as Orthodox Christians to speak out and to challenge by principle.”

          So, Ianinsky, when you have finally finished grammar school, it seems to me you will have several choices in my regard: take issue and challenge by principle, or (duh) not read what I have written. And this, your first consultation, is free.

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          • Ianinsky says:

            Mr.Stinkowich,If I stand on your tongue will you stop talking?

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          • Ianinsky says:

            Mr.Stankowich,okay I will challenge you on principle.Your post,the one that confuses me,expresses rancor towards Bishop Tikhon ,then vilifies folks who express rancor towards the Clergy and the Church.Then ends with a scripture that describes the Honorable Tradition of the Clergy.Bishop Tikhon is a Bishop.I am an amateur at this,but I think that means he ,in his pure form,represents The Apostolic Sucession of Our Lord.Why do you and others in this blog,hold him in such contempt?As a human being he obviously reacts to his unpopularity by being more obnoxious then he needs to be.I would suggest that you ,instead of trying to be so glib,LOOK AGAIN,in other words,RE SPECT.

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  15. Heracleides says:

    Sockpuppet.

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  16. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

    I declare here before all that Heracleides Pompikos, no matter his outrageous claims, is NOT MY SOCKPUPPET. What an idea!!!

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  17. timothy says:

    Fr. Dokos appeared in the Chicago courthouse again today and waived his right to a preliminary hearing. His lawyer says there are “jurisidictional issues” here and that the Milwaukee Church set him up to cover up their mismanagement of funds–HUH?????? If that is what Dokos has for a defense, I think he should start looking for a new legal team. His arraingment is set for August 26.

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  18. Fr. George Washburn says:

    Good morning friends:

    According to the Chicago Tribune, which I consider to be more reliable than our friend Timothy in these matters, he has again failed to read carefully and inform us accurately.

    Fr. Dokos’ court appearance was on July 18, not July 30 as Timothy says.

    Fr. Dokos’ court appearance was in Milwaukee County, WI, not Chicago, Ill as Timothy says. Anyone with even an ounce of insight into the legal process, let alone the sweeping powers of knowledge and judgment which Timothy purports to exercise, would know that Wisconsin state criminal charges are NEVER heard in any other state, let alone Wisconsin and Milwaukee’s nearby rival, Chicago!

    Let me acknowledge that according to the Tribune he did manage to get some things right, however: the arraignment date and the attorney’s remarks.

    But this isn’t baseball where batting 4 out of 10 gets you into the Hall of Fame, or at least it shouldn’t be. And to boot we have 5 lockstep ‘jump on Dokos’ bandwagon thumbzuppers on the scoreboard so far and no downs. At least until I cast my vote after sending this message.

    accurately,

    Fr. George

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    • Art Samouris says:

      Dear Fr. George,
      What seems to have gotten you angry? We all make mistakes in reading and repeating what we read. You normally sound logical and upbeat to me in your postings. Forgive me, but some of the things you wrote about Timothy were not very kind sounding to me. When I first read Timothy’s post, I immediately was struck by the court location; Chicago for charges brought by the Milwaukee county SA seemed very fishy. I thought, well that has to be wrong, no big deal, just a slip.

      I found another mistake, but not in what Timothy wrote, but what you wrote in slamming Timothy. You said that the court date was July 18. It was, for Fr. Dokos’s first appearance. He again appeared in the Milwaukee court on July 30, as written in the Tribune:

      By Alexandra Chachkevitch
      Tribune reporter
      12:12 p.m. CDT, July 30, 2014

      A Greek Orthodox priest charged with felony theft waived his right to a preliminary hearing in a Milwaukee County courtroom this morning.

      So it seems you made a slight slip as well. No big deal, except that this same thing is what seems to have sent you off the rails against Timothy.

      We all make mistakes, so we should be forgiving to one another in these instances.
      Again, I hope that Fr. Dokos does not go to jail, nor anyone else who may be involved. I also hope that this becomes a major lesson learned for all clergy and laity when it comes to properly handling money.

      Forgive me Fr. George if I offended you by my words, I mean no harm. I just hold the clergy to a higher standard when it comes to kindness. I could be wrong in doing this, and I definitely have much to learn regarding staying calm and not getting angry.

      May the Good Lord guide and protect us all.

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      • Thanks, Art. Looks like Fr. George is under the weather again with all this calamity going on with the GOA. His lack of kindness and clarity really shines through. Instead of spending time pointing out innocent errors, Fr. George, maybe you could spend some time improving the character of some clergy and instruct them in the evils of simony and greed.

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      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

        There is a slimey tactic called, in traditional logic, “the fallacy of the double (or complex) question.” The traditional example is the question; “Have you stopped beating your wife?”

        ART, your question to Father George fits the definition of the fallacy of the double question ‘to a T.” Here’s what what you wrote; “Dear Fr. George,
        What seems to have gotten you angry?” A more logical question here would be, “Art, WHY does Father George’s message seem angry to you, as you claim? ”

        The only thing redeeming your slimey resort to moralizing on an anger which Father George rarely if ever allows himself, especially around this trailer-park cracker barrel,is your delightful use of ‘gotten’. Timothy points to his own judgment, that clergy need character improvement to meet his standards of virtue. That’s a popular and inexpensive way of expressing one’s dismay at having nothing substantial to contribute.

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  19. Christopher says:

    http://wcca.wicourts.gov/index.xsl Friends, you can follow along with the State v Dokos case at this web site. According to the court records, he missed his first court appearance claiming car trouble. A warrant was issued but put on hold until his second court hearing. Then he missed the second hearing claiming he was in the hospital. He finally showed up for his third hearing. This is not the conduct of an honorable man.

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  20. Fr. George Washburn says:

    Art is right – I made a mistake too. I apologize to the readers and “Timothy.” Under a name by which it is possible for anyone and everyone to know exactly who made the mistake and hold me to whatever account the mistake merits.

    Among the things I do NOT like, Art, is people who pile on the sinner before the Fat Lady has her costume on straight, let alone sings her part. It reminds me of that story in some texts of the Gospel in which the Pharisees triumphantly drag a woman taken in adultery before Jesus – for the purpose of advancing their twisted religious agenda at the expense of His untwisted one…..thereby adding to the misery of an obvious wretch. We know how that one turned out: Pharisees shamed, woman redeemed….. and, **theoretically at least,** 2 millenia of the righteous instructed on how they should roll.

    I believe an appreciable chunk of what goes on here consists of those who are NOT without sin casting stones. Based on a series of messages here “Timothy” strikes me as vying to be first. For me at this stage the question bigger than Fr. James’ ultimate innocence, on which I do not expect him to prevail, is whether or not eager Dokos thumpers act in the Spirit of the Gospel and its central Figure, or in the spirit of modern internet brush wars. How many question marks appended to Timothy’s “Huh?” Six, was it? Wow.

    And they piously purport to parse people’s positions from the generally cowardly comfort of anonymity. Our “Christopher” pseudonymously says (without sharing with us his credentials in hospital record keeping, auto mechanics, court proceedings or palm reading) that it is dishonorable for someone to send an attorney to court in his place when he claims that he cannot be there. Wrong. It happens all the time in the early stages of both civil and criminal cases …and tells a knowledgeable observer more about the person ready to quickly cast anonymous aspersions based on a thin ambiguity than it does about the defendant.

    It doesn’t sound at this stage like Fr. James or his attorney have much ammo, but isn’t it much more in keeping with a Faith that prays “Lord have mercy” as often as we do to have a little on him for now. But hey, if God Himself has anointed a guy to cast anonymous stones, he’s gotta do what he’s gotta do.

    skeptically,

    Fr. George

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    • Art Samouris says:

      Fr. George,
      Everyone here is a sinner. Many times when an argument gets heated, personal insults are cast like stones. Most of us here are guilty of this, me included. To be clear, I was not attacking you for making a minor mistake. I was making a point that in my opinion, it is especially unbefitting for priests (and bishops ;D) to make mean-spirited personal remarks. I deeply respect your position regarding not piling on the sinner. However, I don’t respect personal insults made by anyone, especially clergy. I don’t expect that continuing to participate here will be good for my peace.

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      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

        No need to get angry and offended by a C grade. Art. Saying that Father George went off the rails is just wishful thinking on your part, maybe. and, “Auf Wienerschnitzel!”

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      • Fr. George Washburn says:

        Hi Art:

        I’m not annoyed at you at all. I like and respect the tone and content of what you post, and glady accept that someone like you can both respect some of what I do and disagree graciously with the rest. Well done.

        I do continue to take issue with the anoymous who pile on with capital letters and six exclamation points , and I apologize if the firmness with which I intentionally do it seems to you to stray into personal unkindness.

        As to sticking around and the benefit or detriment to one’s soul, I think I know what you mean.

        love,

        Fr. George

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  21. I think we can all tell that Fr. George is a very unhappy man. I pray that he finds some healing and if he does have a parish, I pray for them, too!!!! (oops, too many exclamation marks–I am bound to hear that again!)

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  22. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

    Timothy, you are mistaken. Father George is NOT an unhappy man at all. What an idea! Have you ever met him or even seen him? If you claim that his posting here shows unhappiness, that claim says more about your inability to engage him in intelligent give and take, than it does about the emotional well-being of a fine Priest and lawyer!

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    • George Michalopulos says:

      Yeah, I agree. I haven’t met Fr George either. I ask for his forgiveness for allowing this comment to be published. I thought Timothy was talking about me, not Fr George.

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    • You do not have to know someone or have met them to recognize unhappiness. Fr. G. strikes me as an unhappy man with his words and tenor. I would expect more from a priest. I guess we all have to agree to disagree here and pray for us all, including myself.

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  23. Fr. George Washburn says:

    Thanks Vladyka and George M. It is work for all of us to stay on the high road … and I want to try harder.

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