It turned out that the WHIO news story on Friday night was actually a sort of commercial for the Dayton Daily News story that was going to be printed on Sunday. The results were somewhat misleading.
Since the DDN doesn’t make this article available online to non-subscribers, I will give a precis of the article.
First off, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is unhappy with Fr. Earl Simone’s business dealings — because diocesan priests are supposed to let the Archdiocese know about their business activities, and get permission for them. The Archdiocesan spokesman was unsure if this was against canon law or not, but apparently it’s against policy.
Fr. Simone says he didn’t know he was supposed to get permission from the Archdiocese before starting businesses, or that he was supposed to report on how his businesses were doing.
Second, Fr. Simone bought $2.9 million of real estate (rental properties) over a period of 20 years (1994-2014). His company was named Flynn Realty, Inc.; it runs 31 rental properties. At one point, he apparently ended up having to pay more property tax than he had bargained for, which left him owing back taxes for several years. He is now totally paid up, except for $2,687 owed on one of his apartment complexes. Over the same period, his rental properties were cited by cities for 91 minor violations (stuff like not mowing the grass).
There have been major maintenance problems at a rental property on Powell Rd. in Huber Heights, with tenants reporting nobody dealing with black mold, a dangerously wired ceiling fan and hallway light, a moldy leaking A/C unit, bad plumbing, a water heater that shot out flames, broken cabinets, and broken back doors.
DDN reporters also talked to tenants at the other rental properties, and they didn’t have any complaints.
Fr. Simone currently employs a property manager to manage all this stuff, Mr. Matt Heidenreich of Mak Gregor Management. This property manager has only been working there for a year. The previous property manager was Tom Marts. The property management company has been in business since 1984. Part of their property management services is that they actually do all the work to rent out apartments and collect the rent for units owned by other people and companies. (In other words, they are the “landlord,” as far as tenants would be concerned.)
Third, Fr. Simone had a restaurant company called Flynn Systems Inc., which ran “The Bagel Shoppe: A Gourmet Sandwich Place” in Vandalia. This restaurant closed in 2006. The company was owned by Flynn Realty, Inc. Fr. Simone says he had a partner, James Michael Duckett, who actually ran the business. When the business failed, this partner disappeared. Duckett wasn’t a partner on the paperwork, though, and wasn’t on the hook for the bank money and taxes. He currently lives in Hawaii and was “unavailable for comment” to the DDN reporters.
Fourth, Fr. Simone had a separately incorporated real estate business called Flynn Enterprises. This company was also owned by Flynn Realty, Inc.
Fifth, in 2002 when the back tax thing resulted in a garnishment order, the tax folks sent one of the garnishment orders to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. But apparently nobody at the Archdiocese took any notice of strange government tax paperwork and court orders!!
Sixth, St. Peter’s and the rest of the parish cluster doesn’t have a “business manager.” They have bookkeepers who don’t do the actual money handling; and various parishioners handle the money from various sources (ushers for the collection, CCD people for CCD fees, etc.) Nothing has yet been released about actually finding money missing, or what person or persons may have had sticky fingers. (If anybody did. Sometimes it’s just bad record-keeping, or an account that’s not being remembered.) The other parishes in the cluster are still being audited, too. The interim pastor, Fr. Hadden, and the “pastoral council” (parish cluster council, I guess) are looking into what should be changed for the future.
That’s it for now. Doesn’t look like anything’s been definitely proved hinky, as of yet.
UPDATE: In the comments to my first post, a commenter gives some interesting “gen.” The commenter indicates that Fr. Flynn may have inherited some of the money and properties.
Report on Flynn Realty Inc. on credibility.com