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Milwaukee Archdiocese argues for bankruptcy relief or else they'll go broke


MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - The Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese says it will run out of operating funds in April, unless a bankruptcy court creates some breathing room.

The church has paid around $9 million on legal and consulting fees in the bankruptcy case it filed two years ago.

Thursday, the archdiocese asked Judge Susan Kelley for permission to stop paying all those fees, except for $125,000 on a financial reorganization plan. The church also wants to use insurance money to keep challenging compensation claims made by those who were sexually abused by priests.

Archdiocese spokesman Jerry Topczewski said the church needs relief from its bankruptcy bills. And without it, “We will be unable to continue operating.” He said the archdiocese has used all its money from savings, reserves, investments, and funds that were budget for litigation.

The church’s creditors – which include hundreds of sex abuse victims – blame the archdiocese for its predicament. Creditors’ attorney James Stang says the church has spent a “fortune” trying to throw out the damage claims for its abusive priests.

Stang said no other bankrupt diocese in the country has used its resources to object to claims the way Milwaukee has.

But Topczewski says the creditors have brought frivolous legal issues – including the one to make parishes in the 10 county archdiocese pay the victims. Kelley recently said no to that.