Pressure continues on 815 to disclose amount spent on lawsuits

An Open Letter to the Members of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church

12 February 2008

From: The Right Reverend William C. Wantland, Bishop Retired of Eau Claire
And The Right Reverend Maurice M. Benitez , Bishop Retired of Texas

This letter constitutes our final effort to obtain information from you as representing the leadership of the Episcopal Church about the amount currently being expended in the extensive litigation in which the Episcopal Church is engaged.

We directed our last letter to the Executive Council. We received our answer in a letter from two attorneys, who are members of the Council, writing on behalf of the full Council. Conveyed in a three page letter, their answer to us is:

IT’S A SECRET.

We then wrote to the two lawyer members of the Executive Council to get a specific response to our questions about the funding of the litigation. In late January, they replied, stating that no funds for litigation have come from either the Pension Fund or Trust Funds. However, they refused to disclose the amounts being expended on litigation.

We now ask you, the Executive Council, why do you feel the necessity for refusing to furnish information on the cost of litigation? You have lawyers. You clearly know that there is NO provision in Federal, State or Canon law for the Executive Council to withhold from members and officials of the Church, information on money being spent on behalf of the Church and presumably for the benefit of the Church. You cannot point to a single legal basis for concealing such information. Your answer is simply, “IT’S A SECRET”.

Such an answer is not acceptable. If there is nothing wrong with these expenditures, then why do you refuse to reveal the amount? It should not be a secret, and you owe the Church and its membership the courtesy of an honest answer.

+William C. Wantland
+ Maurice M. Benitez