Bishop Bruno and a Forensic Audit

Earlier today, I received a copy of the Episcopal Church’s response to +Bruno’s motion opposing sanctions. It is well done, and raises the points I previously raised on this blog, and many more.

One point I found to be particularly useful was the church attorney’s recommendation that the Corp Sole — the one-man corporation controlled by +Bruno — undergo a forensic audit.

Why the recommendation? Because +Bruno’s actions, including his apparent attempted secret sale of the property, have become so suspicious. As a result, the church’s attorney asks a number of insightful questions, including, “Does the bishop stand to personally gain in this matter? Is there some concealed misconduct in Corp Sole?”

My experience with The Episcopal Church is that adjudicatories often conflate financial and forensic audits. The former attest to the accuracy of your financial reports; the latter attempts to detect misappropriation of assets.

Apropos forensic audits, adjudicatories typically are reluctant to assume the worst in clergy. Yet when clergy consistently act in a secretive or dishonest manner regarding church finances, or actively resist outside scrutiny, as has occurred here, it is entirely reasonable to ask why.

I therefore applaud the church attorney in his recommendation that there be a full forensic audit of Corp Sole. While such a move will be expensive, it is far more expensive over time to ignore the need to fully explore these issues.

Again, why the secrecy? Why would +Bruno not want the larger church to understand what is going on in Corp Sole? And how did he ever reach the utterly ludicrous conclusion that the larger church has no control over church assets merely because they are titled as property of Corp Sole?

Bishop Bruno, I too smell a rat.

About Eric Bonetti

I'm a cradle Episcopalian, living in Northern Virginia. My interests include writing, policy, sports, cooking, volunteer work, good food and wine, and teaching kids' cooking classes. I retired in 2017 and now just work for fun. I'm also a regular contributor to Episcopal Cafe, and have been published at HuffPo and other major sites and publications.
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