LA Archdiocese: Sex? Sell!
When the chips are down and you need cash to settle up some legal matters, unloading some real estate is a good move.
Which is precisely why the Roman Catholic Archdiocese has sold off their 3424 Wilshire Boulevard Archdiocesan Catholic Center to Jamison Properties for a cool $31 million. Of course, that $31 million is just a drop in a bucket with a pricetag of $660 million for the church's past sins. According to the San Jose Mercury News, "Cardinal Roger Mahony announced last year that the archdiocese would sell the Catholic Center and other church properties to raise money to settle hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits. Church officials had identified about 50 other nonessential properties that could be sold to fund settlements."
Staffers for the Archdiocese will be packing up and shifting their offices, some to four of the floors in the same building they'll be leasing back from Jamison Properties, and the rest will be based on the grounds of a cemetery--always a pleasant place to do the Lord's work, no? The last major move the Archdiocese made was in 1996, when the nice people of ThriftyPayLess donated the building, helping to extract the church from their troubled digs on James M. Wood Boulevard (once upon a time West Ninth Street) after the area endured the 1992 riots. Not exactly a case of looking a gift horse in the mouth, but certainly a clever financial spin on regifting nonetheless.
This is the first property sale the Archdiocese has made in its efforts to pony up in the settlements, and it is no secret that their finances are in trouble. Cardinal Mahony recently announced the church will be making local presentations "due the challenging circumstances now facing the Archdiocesan Catholic Center as a result of the Sexual Abuse Settlements" at 19 local deaneries. According to the Archdiocese's Media Relations rep, there are five million Catholics in Los Angeles. Incidentally, there are 508 cases in the lawsuit, and 45 more that were not "covered by sexual abuse insurance." How 'bout them odds?
Photo of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels by Lindsay William-Ross for LAist