(CN) – A man who says he used to give financial advice to Catholic organizations claims in court that the church defamed him by spreading a psychic’s claims about him.
Michael Schaefer and his Dakota County, Minn.-based business, MPSCHAEFER, brought the complaint on April 21 against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis; Catholic Finance Corp.; Mater Dei High School; the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange; and that diocese’s revocable trust.
Schaefer claims that the Minnesota archdiocese hired him in April 2000 while it was in the process of creating a financial-advisory firm for Catholic organizations.
The diocese ultimately tapped Schaeffer to serve as executive director of that entity, Catholic Finance Corp., according to the complaint in Dakota County District Court.
In that capacity Schaefer says he “completed approximately $600 million in financing for Catholic organizations,” working directly or indirectly “in seven different dioceses with over 200 parishes and schools.”
Schaefer allegedly opened his own firm in 2011, and that the Diocese of Orange contracted him to act as its finance director on an interim-to-permanent basis in late 2013.
Later that year, however, “an employee of the Diocese of Orange, whose other job was as a professional psychic, made a complaint about Schaefer,” the complaint states. “Although the diocese’s outside counsel interviewed Schaefer, they never advised him of what specific allegations this employee made against him. Moreover, at no time was Schaefer asked about any prior incident of sexual misconduct, at [Catholic Finance Corp.] CFC or elsewhere. In any event, Schaefer did not engage in any wrongdoing or inappropriate conduct with respect to this employee at the Diocese of Orange and did not engage in any wrongdoing or inappropriate conduct.”
During the investigation, “the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and/or CFC told the Diocese of Orange that Schaefer had engaged in sexual misconduct while he was executive director of the Catholic Finance Corp.,” Schaefer claims. “In turn, the Diocese of Orange told Schaefer that it was terminating its contracts and those of [Orange Revocable Trust] ORT with MPSCHAEFER LLC because of a ‘pattern of sexual misconduct.’
“The Diocese of Orange disqualified Schaefer and MPSCHAEFER LLC from all business or professional contact with the Diocese of Orange or any entity ‘affiliated with’ the Diocese of Orange,” the complaint continues.
As to the Mater Dei High School, Schaeffer’s complaint also says this Santa Ana, Calif., school contracted his firm “to reduce its professional fee by $6,020 in exchange for a letter of recommendation.”
But the high school has not paid or “provided the letter of recommendation as a result of instructions and/or statements made by legal counsel for the Diocese of Orange,” the complaint states.
Schaeffer seeks damages for breach of contract, tortious interference, defamation and other claims.
Schaefer and his firm are represented by John Thompson with Oberman Thompson LLC in Minneapolis.
Courthouse News is awaiting comment from the defendants at this time.
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