MICHAEL G. CANTONIS
1650 Seabreeze Drive
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
December 7, 1999
His Eminence Demetrios
Greek Orthodox Archbishop of America
10 E 79th Street
New York, NY 10021
On the occasion of the Executive Committee meeting of next week, I very kindly ask you to bring this matter for discussion with the Executive Committee and make recommendation to me.
A few years ago, there was a movement by the Archdiocese to establish an Endowment Fund for the Ecumenical Patriarchate to raise tens of millions of dollars, invest them properly, and use the income for the benefit of the Patriarchate. This Endowment Fund was going to be established with the approval of IRS and, as I understood at the time, Mr. Michael Jaharis was working with attorneys for the preparation of the proper documents to submit to the IRS for their approval. Reverend Father Alexander Karloutsos was going to be in charge of fund raising.
During the fall 1997 when His All Holiness Bartholomew was on a visit to the USA, at a dinner given in his honor at a New York Hotel, there were pledges for such Endowment of over ten million dollars. I pledged $500,000 on that occasion. Later that year I sent a check for $170,000 to His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon and in addition, I opened a security account with a well known Wall Street firm, in the name of the Archdiocese and deposited certain marketable securities against my pledge. I appointed His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon as trustee of this account. With the check I sent a letter to him instructing him that the check and securities were to be transferred to the Endowment Fund after the official documents were approved by the IRS. Total of these funds amounted to a good portion of my pledge.
In 1998, before adding more securities to the above account, I asked Rev. Karloutsos about the status of the official IRS documents. Father Alex advised me that he did not know and asked me to find out from Mr. Jaharis. I realized then that if Father Karloutsos did not know anything regarding this Endowment Fund, there was something wrong. From outside and inside of the Archdiocese sources, I found out that no such Endowment Fund had been created. If I had known this, I would have never sent a dime against my pledge, as the rest of the people that pledged did. Then I contacted His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, telling him that I was planning to send more securities to the account, but since the Endowment project appeared dead, we both agreed that the previous funds plus the new securities should be transferred to HCHC, Archbishop Spyridon's Endowment Scholarship Fund, if no endowment for the Patriarchate came to existence by the spring of 1999. As we all know, His Eminence started an Endowment Scholarship Fund in 1998. In fact, I donated an additional $50,000 to the School, to be put into the Archbishop Spyridon's Endowment Scholarship Fund.
The total amount of marketable securities plus the $170,000 check, amount today to over $800,000, and if you add to this amount the additional $50,000, the total comes to over $850,000.
Your Eminence, I have some thoughts. I can add an additional $150,000 to make it one million and (1) create a restricted trust fund and have the income go to Archbishop Spyridon's pension, or (2) transfer everything to the restricted Endowment Scholarship Fund at HCHC, or (3) with the cooperation of the Trustee, Archbishop Spyridon, freeze these funds temporarily until I create a one million dollar restricted Endowment Trust Fund for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, if the Archdiocese put into effect a guaranteed satisfactory pension for His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon. This pension was voted by the Executive Committee earlier this year. I am sure that Archbishop Spyridon will not have any objection with any one of the above three alternatives. [I personally am in favor of (1) or (3)]
As you probably know, Your Eminence, the Executive Committee of the Archdiocese voted for Archbishop Spyridon Pension and I am going to make it easier for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Archdiocese and the Executive Committee to implement the already voted and approved pension by the Executive Committee of the Archdiocese. I may add to this. After the passing of Archbishop Spyridon, the income of that Trust Fund can go either to the Patriarchate or to the Archdiocese, as you may decide. I hope that you will give this matter serious consideration and recommend to me what I should do.
With love and respect,
Michael G. Cantonis
[ Orthodox Truth | www.orthodox-truth.bugs3.com/art_21.html
From posting: "Michael Cantonis' Correspondence with Goa and the Ecumenical Patriarchate"
December 7, 1999 ]