Episcopal Church in South Carolina asks court to order accounting of church assets

July 11, 2018

The Episcopal Church and The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC) have petitioned the 1st Circuit Court of Common Pleas to order a full accounting of all assets held by a group that broke away from the church in 2012.

The petition, filed July 10 with the Court of Common Pleas in the 1st Judicial Circuit, would affect the diocesan organizations and 29 parishes that the South Carolina Supreme Court decided in August 2017 must be returned to The Episcopal Church. All were plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in 2013 against The Episcopal Church and TECSC by the breakaway group led by Mark Lawrence.

The accounting would “allow this Court to equitably proceed in this matter” to restore property to The Episcopal Church and TECSC and compensate them for any loss in value of property since the split occurred in October 2012.

The case has been remitted to the 1st Circuit court so that the state Supreme Court’s decision can be executed. In May, The Episcopal Church and TECSC petitioned the court to implement the decision and appoint a judge called a “special master” to oversee the complex process of returning the property and assets.

The Chief Administrative Judge of the circuit, Judge Edgar Dickson, has scheduled a status conference for July 26. Such conferences typically are held to set a schedule for disposing of the case.

The new Petition for an Accounting asks the court to order a report on the identity and value of all assets that must be turned over in accordance with the SC Supreme Court order. It also asks for an accounting of all assets that were held by the plaintiffs as of October 2008, and what has been their disposition since then.

The petition asks the court to appoint the Charleston accounting firm of Dixon, Hughes and Goodman LLP to conduct the accounting.

Reports would be required from the Trustees of the Diocese of South Carolina, the corporation of “The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina,” Camp St. Christopher, and each of the 29 parishes that the SC Supreme Court declared are to be returned.

The petition seeks all audit reports, audited financial statements and managed investment accounts, bank statements, budgets, data on fund transfers, and information on legal fees and related expenses from January 1, 2008 onward. It also asks for all documents that establish restrictions on the use of funds.

About The Episcopal Church in South Carolina

The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC) is the local diocese in the eastern half of South Carolina that is part of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. For the latest on TECSC, visitepiscopalchurchsc.org or like us on Facebook.

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