We had previously written about an injustice to Lake County taxpayers, regarding the Land Bank donating to the Catholic Church in Willowick. We wrote a letter to Catholic Charities asking them to step up and correct this injustice by donating to the Lake County Council on Aging and/or Lake County Children Services.
Upon following up with Catholic Charities, Mr. Patrick (Dave) Gareau, President and CEO, told me, in a very abrupt manner, that were are asking for something that he cannot provide because Catholic Charities does not donate anything; they just provide services to the poor and needy. We are sending the following letter to the News-Herald informing Lake County residents about this injustice.
January 19, 2018
Mr. William DeBus
Letters to the Editor
7085 Mentor Avenue
Willoughby, OH 44094
Subject: Lake County’s Donation to the Catholic Church
Dear Mr. DeBus:
We would like to make Lake County residents aware of a situation that has occurred in the City of Willowick. The two parties involved are St. Mary Magdalene Church and the Lake County Land Reutilization Corp (also known as the Lake County Land Bank).
For over ten years the Church had let their abandoned rectory and convent fall into such disrepair that the City of Willowick should have condemned both buildings and insisted the church either demolish the buildings, or bring them up to the City’s standards. For some unknown reason, the City just let the Church continue to ignore its obligations.
Mr. John Rogers, Executive Director of the Land Bank, was asked for help in demolishing the buildings. The Church offered to give the Land Bank the title to the property.
Mr. Rogers agreed to their request for help, and estimated that the cost of demolition was $175,000. The parcel of land, on which the buildings reside, will be split into two residential lots with estimated values of $38,500 and $54,000. So, in effect, the Lake County taxpayers have donated $82,500 to the Catholic Church. It is our opinion, that this financial burden should not be borne by taxpayers that are not even members of the Church.
We reached out to Mr. Patrick Gareau, President and CEO of Catholic Charities, and asked him to correct this injustice, and donate $82,500 to the Lake County Council on Aging and/or the Lake County Children’s Services. With $7.9 million in cash, $19 million in marketable securities, and $32 million in net assets, we did not believe that our request was a financial burden to Catholic Charities.
Mr. Gareau curtly informed me that we would be better off calling the church because Catholic Charities does not donate anything. He is not in any position to help Lake County seniors or children services.
Lobbyists for Citizens
(Comment: Setting aside Mr. Gareau’ petulance, I find it very strange that Catholic Charities say they help the poor and needy, but shun the opportunity to help seniors and children of Lake County)