HARRISBURG, Pa. — An emergency bankruptcy hearing was held Friday morning in the Harrisburg Catholic Diocese case. Arguments centered around the disparity between the estimated assets the diocese claimed in its filings and the more than $150 million held in various other accounts.
When the dioceses filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, it claimed estimated assets from $1-10 million. But, now the U.S. Trustee is questioning $150 million dollars in accounts controlled by the diocese. The lawyers for the diocese claims the money is not an asset because it belongs to parishes, schools and other entities.
The trustee argues the diocese has control of the accounts, and the money should be counted as an asset of the diocese in this case.
There were also questions surround 79 PNC accounts which using the diocese's employer identification number but, the diocese argues the accounts don't belong to them. A lawyer for the diocese says the accounts each hold less than $5,000 and were transferred to parishes and catholic schools, like Delone Catholic and St. Joan of Arc, more than a decade ago. The EIN was never changed, according to the diocese's lawyer because there wasn't a need since catholic schools don't pay taxes.
The judge ordered in the interim, the diocese can continue using these account, pay utilities and its 177 employees. A final hearing will be held on April 2nd to determine which of these accounts, if any, will be considered cash assets in this case. The diocese will also have to prove those 79 accounts using its EIN have been soley controlled by entities outside the diocese for the last year.