Last week, Judge Christopher Klein appointed a Nevada bankruptcy judge to act as a mediator in the Chapter 11 reorganization case of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Stockton.
The judicial mediator is the Hon. Gregg W. Zive. Judge Zive is expected to convene mediation sessions between lawyers for the Diocese of Stockton and those representing its creditors. A status conference in the bankruptcy case is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 26 in Sacramento.
“It is our hope that the issues in this case can be settled through mediation and that resolutions can be found that will be in the best interest of all involved,” Bishop Stephen Blaire said in a press release. “In bankruptcy cases, negotiated or mediated settlements result in faster outcomes and significantly lower costs than contested, litigated solutions.”
Attorneys for the diocese filed with the court schedules of assets and liabilities at the end of January.
Assets totaled $7.2 million, and include real estate properties worth an estimated $2 million. These properties include the Pastoral Center; the bishop’s residence; the convent for the Franciscan Missionary Sisters; the St. John Vianney House/Newman Center at University of the Pacific; and a donated, vacant property in Valley Springs. Other assets listed include interests in bank and investment accounts to fund operations, pension plans and self-insurance pools.
Liabilities facing the diocese total nearly $11.9 million. These include outstanding loans, wages and benefit payments due to employees, and retirement claims for priests.
The $11.9 million figure does not include the anticipated costs of claims from pending lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse by priests, Blaire said.
Statements from Bishop Blaire and a chronology of events related to bankruptcy can be found at the diocese website.