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Report: Defrocked Also Defrauded

Former Catholic church CFO joins financial-scandal bandwagon. Plus, new finance chiefs at Oxford Automotive and Infinity Broadcasting.
Lisa YoonJuly 30, 2002

>> In this year of living scandalously, a scandal was bound to emerge involving a CFO of the Catholic church… The diocese of Palm Beach, Fla., disclosed that bishops disgraced in sexual-abuse allegations brushed under carpet the matter of $400,000 embezzlement by finance director… According to the New York Times, Bishop J. Keith Symons found out in 1994 that diocese CFO Robert Schattie had looted church treasury… Bishop chose not to press charges for fear of scandal, church officials told the Times…Instead, the diocese signed a secret agreement with Schattie—who neither admitted nor denied the theft—under which he was to repay $200 a month over the next, oh, century and a half… Apparently not-so-penitent Schattie stopped paying after a few months, but Bishop Symons didn’t appear to press the matter… He resigned in 1998 amid allegations of child molestation… Successor Bishop Anthony O’Connell reportedly also preferred to keep the matter secret…

The embezzlement became public only recently, when Schattie’s former wife, Darlene Kott, informed local reporters and provided documents as proof… Kott told the Times that she decided to speak out about her ex after she heard diocesan officials telling parishioners in the wake of Bishop O’Connell’s resignation in March that the church was involved in no other cover-ups…

Meanwhile, as Palm Beach bishops kept mum, Schattie reportedly got a position managing finances at Jewish community center, which has also accused defrocked priest of stealing $10,000… (He pleaded not guilty to felony theft charges in that case on July 18, Michael Edmondson of the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s office told the Times.)

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This may not be the first time church officials have apparently skimmed off the collection box… Early 1990s saw a wave of church embezzlement incidents nationwide… In Buffalo, a former finance director reportedly stole $1.5 million… And embezzlement isn’t the only financial plague: diocesan finance departments are under scrutiny for lack of transparency in bookkeeping and, more recently, depleting church treasuries to pay off sex-abuse settlements…

>> Jacques Tortoroli is tuned in to Infinity Broadcasting as CFO of the radio network, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. and Westwood One… Tortoroli most recently served as CFO of E-business consultancy Scient Inc…. Before joining Scient in 2001, Tortoroli was with advertiser Young and Rubicam Inc., where he was CFO of Y&R Advertising, SVP of finance, chief accounting officer, and CFO of Young & Rubicam Inc…. Previously, Tortoroli spent 12 years with PepsiCo Inc., including a stint as VP and controller of Pepsi-Cola International…

>> Tim Gargaro in driver’s seat as EVP and CFO of auto-parts supplier Oxford Automotive Inc….Gargaro joining Oxford from Delco Remy International, where he was SVP and CFO… Previously Gargaro worked at Lear Corp. in various senior finance jobs…

>> Netcontinuum Inc., which makes security software for Web apps, named Andrew Stern VP and CFO… Before joining Netcontinuum, Stern was CFO for such small tech firms as Skire, Theatrix Interactive, Arbor Software, and Gupta Corp….

>> U.K. business information and research company Hemscott Plc named Natalie Newton CFO… Newton, controller since May 2000, will succeed Kevin O’Byrne, who leaves the company in August for a new position…

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