What we learned from the Wheeling Intelligencer today:
The Wheeling diocesan home of former Catholic bishop Michael J. Bransfield has been sold for $1.2 million, and the proceeds will be placed into a special fund to assist victims of sexual abuse in West Virginia.
The home was sold Aug. 23 to David H. and Meredith McKinley, according to Ohio County real estate records. David is the son of Congressman David B. McKinley.
The article, however, raises more questions than it answers:
The article tells us that the property was sold on August 23 “according to Ohio County real estate records.” That was three weeks ago — why is the diocese just now announcing it?
Perhaps, more importantly, is what the property sold for ($1.2 million) and how it was sold. The article notes that the former bishop and the diocese had spent $4.6 million on renovations. I realize that owners sometimes don’t recoup the cost of renovations when they go to sell but it only brought $1.2 million? Which leads to the next obvious question: why wasn’t the property publicly listed with a realtor? Maybe it would only receive a half-a-million dollar bid. On the other hand, what if were $2 million or more? Why didn’t the diocese let the marketplace decide?
We also learned today that the property wasn’t privately sold to just anyone – it went to our local congressman’s son. Huh?
Finally, is this how the diocese hopes to be more transparent?
I’m sure I’m not the only person asking these questions. (I see that at least two appear in the Intelligencer comment section.) Ogden Newspapers won’t investigate this – they hire stenographers. Perhaps another newspaper in the state will. (Our best hope is that the Washington Post will continue its excellent work on this subject. For an example, see the next post down.)