Davidson County Chancellor Carol McCoy is expected this morning to issue a ruling that could affect the daycare and preschool operations of St. Andrew’s Church and have further ramifications on the land-related dispute between the Green Hills church and the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee.
The latest twist in a case that revolves around Woodmont Boulevard property estimated to be worth more than $3 million: Accusations that church officials are dipping into the coffers of their preschool to fund other operations. In a May 24 response to a Saint Andrew’s motion to stay McCoy’s April ruling in favor of the diocese, attorneys from Bass Berry & Sims representing the diocese wrote that “[St. Andrew’s] professed concern for the well-being of the pre-school rings particularly hollow since, upon information and belief, [Saint Andrew’s] has been withdrawing funds from the preschool account and also charging the program with salary expenses for church officials.”
St. Andrew’s and its attorneys from Cornelius & Collins filed a reply two days later. In it, they say St. Andrew’s Church and St. Andrew’s Preschool share an account and operate in a “net neutral fashion.” The church uses a “minimal” sum ($105 weekly) to pay two church officials, the reply adds.
In a sworn affidavit, St. Andrew’s and its treasurer, Maclin P. Davis III, refute the allegations that the church has been raiding the preschool account. The church also denies what it says is the implication by the diocese that funds, other than those of generated by the daycare, are going to the two church officials.
The daycare matter is one of several issues McCoy will consider this morning. The diocese and its attorneys are asking her to consider requiring St. Andrew’s officials to escrow for the duration of its appeal between $11,500 and $12,500 per month – the amount the diocese feels it could attract were it to lease the property – or to provide a bond in a similar dollar amount. McCoy could also rule as to the diocese’s status regarding its taking possession of the property, which could happen within 30 days of today’s hearing.
“The diocese’s preference is to take possession of the property to use for Episcopal Church purposes,” said Tony McFarland of Bass Berry.
In April, McCoy granted the diocese’s motion for summary judgment, meaning the case likely will not go to trial and the diocese eventually could take control of the property, located at Woodmont and Lynnbrook Road and considered very valuable by residential developers. You can access our previous coverage of this case here.
- ALEX B FRUIN INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDACE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDANCE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; FRUIN, ALEX B TRUSTEE; FRUIN ALEX B INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC, CANDACE F TRUSTEE; STEFANSIC CANDACE F INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC CANDANCE F INHERITANCE TRUST
- ROSS, BRIDGETT D
- COOKE, ETHEN LANYARD TRUSTEE; COOKE, ETHEN LEWIS ESTATE
- JACOBS, JESSICA ALEXANDRA; JACOBS, ERIKA BESS