The Fay bill

The Fay bill

The Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, released a report today totaling the amount of money that Fr. Michael Jude Fay allegedly stole from his parish.

A priest who resigned from a church in an affluent Connecticut community misspent up to $1.4 million in parishioner donations to lead a life of luxury with another man, according to a church-directed investigation.

The Rev. Michael Jude Fay spent church money on limousines, stays at top hotels, jewelry, Italian clothing and a Florida condominium shared with the other man, auditors hired by the diocese found. About half the money he spent was kept in a secret bank account, according to their report, which was mailed Friday to 1,700 parishioners of the Darien church and obtained in advance by The Associated Press.

Incidentally, that $1.4 million was only in the past six years. Fay has been pastor of the parish in Darien for the last 15! They said there was an additional $350,000 in his personal bank account, but they could not account for where it came from. Obviously, he’s been squirreling away his $20,000+ paycheck and investing it wisely. The report says he received gifts from parishioners and charged $500 for giving lectures. I wonder what the lectures were on. Probably investment strategies.

A priestly life or a princely life?

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  • The diocesan report has been given to the federal authorities and they are investigating. It takes time to document all the evidence, cross the t’s and dot the i’s. You don’t want to rush it and make a mistake that lets him off on a technicality.

  • God Bless Fr. Michael Madden and the parish bookkeeper for their courage in doing the right thing more than once.  They brought the info to Lori, who initially neglected to take aggressive action.  Then they took it to the PIs and Police to ensure that the Cancer that is Fay was removed.

  • Sounds pretty bad, although not everything in the published report is indefensible:

    “He spent tens of thousands of dollars on home furnishings and meals and more than $20,000 to mark the 25th anniversary of his ordination, according to the report.”

    Well, spending “tens of thousands” on the rectory is surprisingly easy to do—depending on what was needed, and what was bought. I’m moving into a new (to me) rectory, after we repair two bathrooms, build a new one for the other priest whose ill-health means he can’t climb steps, replace some carpeting and do some painting. That will all easily total “tens of thousands” . . .

    Am I wrong in not taking “eating out” as per se extravagant? Over six years, I can easily see spending “thousands” on meals in restaurants; at my prior parish, that’s what we did with the money people gave voluntarily for weddings, baptisms and funerals; the pastor would not only take himself out, but the retired priest, the vicar (me) and the seminarian. Even at a moderately nice restaurant, that could easily be a couple hundred dollars, right there.

    And the $500 per lecture, well, for a lecture fee, that’s pretty cheap. My question is, was whether he charged for lectures he really ought to have done for free (i.e., in his own parish).

    I am not defending him! There’s plenty of wrong with this picture! I’m saying, the bill of particulars, per Yahoo news, includes some items that seem legitimate to me, along with others not legit. Seems fair to focus only on the true offenses.

  • What’s wrong with Lori?  He should be pressing charges and seeking restitution for Fay’s theft.

    What’s wrong with you, Matt?  You should have read the AP article Dom cited above.  grin

    After appearing slow to get started, Lori’s doing the right thing about restitution:

    The bishop said the church would try to recover as much of the money as possible….

    and criminal investigation is underway:

    Federal authorities are investigating Fay….

    On the issue of restaurant prices, here’s a data point: workers traveling on government business in the US are allowed $39-$64 per day for meals.  The ceiling varies depending on location. 

    So does a dinner that costs $50/person sound unreasonably high?  For everyday spending, yes; for an unusual occasion, no.  But of course this is a matter of opinion.

  • Mary:

    Feel free to price having a full bathroom installed into an older house, repairing plumbing in two other bathrooms (I guess they could be left not working, but does that really make sense?), installing new carpeting, painting etc.—and let me know what price you come up with. If it ends up being lower than what we’re facing here, I’d love to know; and I will be very surprised if it’s under $10,000.

    Note: I didn’t say a word about new furniture, before or now; though I may find some is needed, we’ll see.

    As to prices in restaurants: I didn’t say one had to spend $50 per person, only that one could go to a “nice” (obviously all depends on what that means) restaurant, and it’s not that hard. It also depends on where you live; in big cities, costs are higher than in small towns. I moved 30 miles from my last assignment to this one, and the differences in costs are amazing (lower here). If you understood my point to be that one is entitled to do that all the time, then you inferred something in my comments that was not there.

  • Actually, quality furnishings cost a lot.  My decor probably cost more than 10K and depending on where you live restaurants can cost $50 a plate especially if you eat steak or French food.

  • Domenico:

    As I say, I am not defending the man; I read that report to refer to furnishing the rectory. In any case, there appears to be plenty of clear malfeasance—or, in charity, let us say misfeasance.