One proposed rendering of a plan for development of the St. Vartan Cathedral Plaza of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, New York (from "Facts on the Diocesan Development Plan Proposal: Architectural Renderings and Elevations," Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern))

Eastern Diocese Needs to Heed Calls for Transparency

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To the Editor:

The calls for transparency today are now louder than they have ever been. The Diocesan Council of the Eastern Diocese must act in accordance to good faith, but will Mr. James Kalustian, chairman, allow that to occur?

In “A Statement from the Diocesan Council Regarding the Diocesan Development Plan Proposal” (August 14, 2018 Mirror-Spectator), the Diocesan Council of the Eastern Diocese asserts what they perceive as “harsh attacks based on misinformation” have driven the discussion about the potential sale of the Diocesan Center in New York City.

Why would the whole community be in uproar, if they had the proper information to see for themselves if this sale would be beneficial in the first place?

Mr. Kalustian adds to the confusion with his own misinformation during his interview with the Armenian Mirror-Spectator ” (August 14, 2018) when he stated, “We are still negotiating the terms of the two options. When those are done we are going to go back [to the Diocesan Assembly]. We intend to do that anyway.”

Huh? What? Really?

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If this was actually the intent of the chairman of the Diocesan Council, why would Diocesan Delegates have signed a petition calling for a Special Assembly Session of the Eastern Diocesan Assembly to discuss this very matter?

The “Statement” by the Diocesan Council noted that “appraisals [plural] have been completed.” The Diocesan Council, the Board of Trustees and the Diocesan Delegates have not yet received a current appraisal.

Financial transactions in New York real estate are known to be grimy, based on politics and bribes, and most notably run by a handful of powerful elites. We must not allow the Diocesan Center to be sold off without the most strenuous of due diligence. With the exception of the lands owned by the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, there is no more valuable property owned by the Armenian Church in the diaspora today.

No excuse can be tolerated, especially the one about the costs of paying for outside auditing. If you truly care about your community, donate to insure transparency and accuracy of your institution.

If we cannot trust our leaders to lead, then we must find new ones. As President Lincoln said “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

Deacon Armand Yerjanian

Los Angeles

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