The Bishop played the stock market Austin After a bitter two years in court, a suit involving the Louis J. Reicher First Bishop of Austin Trust has apparently been settled. The case involved a $3 million trust fund which presiding officials of the Catholic Church from Texas to Rome insisted belongs to the church. Reicher and his four Catholic lay. trustees maintained that the fortune should remain under their control and administration. Under the terms of a settlement reached Nov. 10, the Diocese of Austin gets control of the Reicher Trust. Reicher, the retired Austin bishop, and his trustees R. H. Johnson, A. J. Maloney, James P. Nash, and E. Barham -Bratton agreed to hand over $900,000 to the Diocese immediately. Trustee Johnson, an Austin realtor, agreed to waive any claim or demand for fees that might be due him for management of the trust. And Johnson pledged to pay 6 14 The Texas Observer Classified advertising is 204 1 per word. 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TO, 340 East 52nd Street, N.Y.C. 10022. “DRAFT RALPH NADER FOR PRESIDENT” Pumpersticker and petition. Nonprofit deal. 50 or 3/$1.00. P.O. Box 2507, Hollywood, California 90028. percent interest on any sum he might owe , the trust. THE SUIT was filed by the present Austin bishop, the Most Reverend Vincent M. Harris, after he succeeded Reicher in 1971. The two men had been very close at one time. When Reicher was a priest in Conroe many years ago, he talked Harris into joining the priesthood. “There’s no question that he was my patron,” Harris, admitted in a deposition. But the new bishop had clues that something was amiss from the first day he took up his Austin duties. “The day I succeeded, when I became bishop of Austin,” he remembered, “I was in Washington, D.C., at a meeting of the bishops. Bishop Reicher was also there. I recall a telephone call that very day I became bishop of Austin that Sister Marie Terese was raiding the vault, taking things out by the boxful. I instructed the chancellor to gets her out.” When Reicher failed to turn over control JOIN THE ACLU. Membership $15. Texas Civil Liberties Union, 600 West 7th, Austin, Texas 78701. CHOOSE FROM 24 gourmet coffees, 12 teas, plus unique gift assortments. Send for free brochure. House of Coffee Beans, Inc., 1728 Westheimer, Houston, Texas 77006. AMNESTY CHRISTMAS CARDS, original design. 12 fr $5.00 donation. Amnesty Bracelets with resisters name, $4.50 donation. Safe Return, 156 5th Ave., Room 1003, New York NY 10010. WORK TOWARDS WORLD FEDERATION. Write Mark Terry, P.O. Box 2786, San Diego, California 92112. ANARCHO-ABSURDIST CANDIDATE for Place 5 wishes to run Austin City Council out of town. To enlist, send resume to 472-1398. Political operators, please dial “0.” FREE ENDANGERED SPECIES CALENDAR FOR 1975. Beautifully illustrated with collector prints, calendar available with membership in Defenders of Wildlife. Minimum, dues of $7.50 includes subscription to bimonthly magazine, membership in organization defending wildlife since 1925, and $3 calendar free. Write Defenders of Wildlife, 2000 N. St., N.W., Washington D.C. 20036. NEW PATRIOTS! Join with the Peoples Bicentennial Commission in a grassroots movement to restore revolutionary principles of 1776 during the Bicentennial Eras For historical material, educational programs and social action guides send $10 to PBC, Washington D.C. 20036. of the trust, Harris appealed to the church. Rome sent down an ecclesiastical decree ordering the retired bishop to give up the money, but he still refused, so Harris took the matter to a state district court in Austin. A complaint filed by Harris’ attorneys charged that diocese funds were put into the trust; that trustees lent funds to themselves, their relatives, their employees, and business associates; that the trustees improperly incurred indebtedness; and that they improperly speculated with the trust money. The suit alleged that the trustees were “placing . themelves in positions where their self-interest as individuals conflict [ed] with their obligations as trustees.” Reicher informally set up the trust 50 years ago with $3,000 he earned working in, steel mills before be became a priest and with $35,000 he borrowed from a bank. Reicher’s attorney, Donald Thomas \(an Austin attorney who handled some Dist. Judge Herman Jones earlier this year that Reicher used the funds to play the stock market. A formal trust was established by Reicher on June 13, 1964. “It’s sole purpose,” the trust document said, “is to benefit the Roman Catholic Church in the State of Texas and in particular the Diocese of Austin.” During the Sixties, Reicher or the trust owned 23 nursing homes in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the McLintock Diamond Drilling Co. of Seattle, Wash., a Florida mobile-home manufacturing company, the LeHigh Acres development in Florida, Clove Lakes Realty Corp., and a large undeveloped tract on Staten Island which was sold to the American Isbrandtsen Steamship Lines, Inc. In a May 31, 1973, letter filed with the court, Reicher insisted, “Never were the funds of any Diocese used in creating this trust. I built the Chancery Office in Austin from these funds. I never took a salary as Ordinary of Austin; I supported myself from these funds instead. Let me assure you that I have not alienated Diocesan property. I do not know that any bishop in Texas or anywhere else has the right to invade these funds,” he said. “This money is for the use of any recognized religious order, school, parish, hospital, or, indeed, for the educational use of any deserving Catholic clergymen or laymen, as well as any Texas Diocese, as determined solely by the trustees.’ It is the property of the Catholic people of Texas.” Accdrding to the settlement agreement signed by the Reicher trustees and by Bishop Harris, the parties promised to dispose of the issue of ownership of the trust by reciting that there was no CLASSIFIED
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