Update on Corruption Trial in Cleveland

The trial of Anton Zgoznik continued in Cleveland today and most of the morning was taken up with the testimony of Sarah Saefkow, a former Zgoznik employee.  The prosecutors took the witness through the process of how invoices were generated for billing various diocesan offices.  Several engagement tracking forms that were used internally by Zgozniks firm to generate bills were introduced into evidence.  The forms listed an item for Diocesan Executive Compensation.  The prosecution introduced evidence to show that the exact amounts in this category that were billed to the diocese were then found in payments from Zgoznik to Tee Sports, Inc., one of the companies owned by Joseph Smith, the chief financial officer of the Diocese at the time.  

To read about the alleged financial misconduct is surely depressing, but there is something about seeing the cancelled checks and the ludicrously inflated itemized invoices on the screen in the courtroom that is completely demoralizing.

For example, among the exhibits discussed today were the separate bills received by the Center for Pastoral Leadership, Borromeo Seminary, and St. Marys seminaryall of which are housed in the same complex in Wickliffe, Ohiofor one month in the spring of 2003.  Together the fees amounted to $6,000 for one months work and one check from the Center for Pastoral Leadership was cut to pay these bills.  (If I understood the testimony accurately, this was the standard monthly bill from Zgozniks company to these diocesan entities.)  Did no one at the CPL, Borromeo, or St. Marys question why the bills were so high?  If the bills were questioned, how were the concerns handled?  By whom were they handled?  These are not necessarily pertinent questions for the legal proceedings, but they are questions that beg to be asked.

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Mary Daly, RIP

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