Review of accounts at Cathedral uncovers misappropriation of $117,000

A recent review of parish accounts at the Cathedral of the Incarnation discovered that approximately $117,000 was misappropriated through numerous unauthorized transactions since 2015.

“The employee involved in the transactions is no longer employed by the parish,” Father Eric Fowlkes, pastor of the Cathedral, and George H. Schultz, chair of the Parish Finance Council, wrote in a Jan. 12 letter to Cathedral parishioners. “The parish will seek repayment from the former employee.

“The Catholic Mutual Group, which provides our insurance coverage, has been notified and there may be opportunities to recover funds not repaid through insurance,” the letter stated. “As part of their process, Catholic Mutual requires notifying appropriate civil authorities. We will cooperate fully with any investigation that may occur.”

Father Fowlkes became pastor of the Cathedral in the summer of 2020. “The scheduled review of parish accounts by the Diocese of Nashville staff, which followed the recent appointment of a new pastor here at the Cathedral, revealed numerous unauthorized financial transactions within the parish business office,” according to the letter. “A Certified Public Accountant from the finance office at the diocese assisted us in conducting an investigation that showed approximately $117,000 in parish funds have been used for personal benefit since 2015 without proper authorization and were misappropriated.”

“With assistance from the diocese, interim measures have been put in place in the parish business office and we will be hiring staff in the near future,” Father Fowlkes and Schultz said in the letter. “Additionally, audit and financial controls will be established to avoid similar occurrences going forward. The Parish Finance Council will review the diocese’s report on our accounting system and assist in implementing their recommendations.

“We will keep the parish informed as more is learned about the financial impact of the loss and any recoveries of funds,” they added.

The letter concludes, “Please keep everyone involved in this matter in your prayers.”