ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — St. Clare’s pensioners have reacted to the Albany Catholic Diocese filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy as they continue to fight for their retirement savings, which they lost in 2018.
Representatives for the pensioners met with lawyers Wednesday afternoon to discuss how to move forward. The pensioners have joined a similar lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James to try to force the diocese to re-establish the retirement fund.
A spokesperson for the pensioners told NEWS10 they won’t give up.
“I don’t think this is the end, by any means, and I have the word from the attorneys that we are going to get through it, so if they can hang on a little bit longer,” Mary Hartshorne, Chair of the St. Clare’s Pension Recovery Alliance, said. “It’s five years in October since the day we received that awful letter, and it’s a long time.”
State Sen. Jim Tedisco, who has advocated for the pensioners, also responded to the bankruptcy filing.
“What the Diocese announced today is absolutely shameful. They can run from their despicable actions and financial maneuverings, but they can’t hide from the Lord or the court of public opinion about what they did to all their victims including the 1100-plus St. Clare’s Hospital Pensioners who were robbed of their retirement savings. Those of us who have stood up for and fought for justice alongside these outstanding health care providers are not going away and I know neither are they. We will continue to pursue the justice they deserve in every possible way!”
Parishes and Catholic Schools of the Diocese aren’t a part of the filing as they are separately incorporated under New York State’s Religious Corporations Law, according to the diocese. The announcement said that under the Chapter 11 filing, legal actions against the diocese would stop. That would let the diocese determine available assets, work with its insurers, and develop a plan to negotiate settlements with victims and survivors of sexual abuse, in addition to other creditors. Services will continue during the process, and the timeline for reorganization could last several years.
The Diocese also created a new website for the reorganization process that will track court filings, updates from the Bishop, and answer frequently asked questions.