Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Holy Ghost Church debacle - Hot potato in hands of Planning Commission Thursday

Plans were to post a new thread giving notice regarding the Planning Commission meeting on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. The agenda will contain an familiar item.

Holy Ghost Church and the HUD housing proposal is back before the Commission once again.

Prior to posting the new thread, I received the following piece via email.


Hi Karen

The attached came in the mail today without any cooresponding disc or data as referenced.

I sense I am not the only person who received this mailing and feel rather sure it went to either the media or some press of some kind but I could be wrong.

Do with it what you wish.


Raison d'etre

By; Asi Seeitt

The reason for this collection of documents and articles is to chronicle the
attempt and extent that the board and priest of the Holy Ghost Orthodox Church,
At Phoenixville, Pa., (HGOC) has gone to obtain the land and property of the
Saint Nicholas Brotherhood, (SNB). The SNB is a non- profit corporation,
founded by the original members of the church to own the land and church
buildings and to then lease the same to the HGOC for a 99 year term,
beginning on June 02,1941.

The efforts made to accomplish this hostile takeover and the efforts by many
concerned parish members, and the community at large to thwart these
machinations are found in the various files in this CD, and the documents

As years go by and memories dim, this information may help the curious and
inquisitive person to understand the cause of a split in the church congregation.
One of the declarations in the church's service proclaims to "Honor the
Founders and Benefactors of this Church". This was certainly not observed in
this incident.

A scheme was hatched to gain control of the nearly twenty acres of valuable
property that the SNB held title to. The premise was to obtain monies for the
construction of a new "educational building and social center" by selling a portion
of the "church's property". The previous method of using restricted funds, fund
raising events and member pledges for a down payment, and then obtaining a
mortgage for the remainder, was ignored and rejected by the priest and board

Prime frontage was to be sold to a developer who was proposing a Housing
and Urban Development (HUD) financed building, which would be five stories
high and contain Section 8 residents, some retirement apartments and retail
stores on the ground level.

James Evans, a former Episcopal priest, who since 1989, became active full time
in property development had wanted to buy and build on HGOC land with the
help of two previous HGOC priests. Evans, at a November 12th., 1978 service at
St. Peter's Episcopal termed Holy Ghost church as "Our sister church."

No sale of this property was possible nor considered because it was owned by
the non-profit corporation of the Saint Nicholas Brotherhood, a group of founding
fathers and their families, who purchased the Reeves land and buildings in
!937> to establish a new church, free of catholic diocese control. It was then
leased to the Holy Ghost church in June,i94i, for a term of 99 years.

Evans found the present priest and church board malleable and eager to obtain
material reward for little or no effort on their part. Just sell the property and all
would benefit handsomely. At this time (2008) Evans had embedded himself in
the Phoenixville planning commission and the town council, so approval here
would be a given, or so he thought.

The chronology of the attempted HGOC property sale shows significant dates
and events.


Raison d'etre
By; Asi Seeit

Associated issues have arisen; The HGOC board sues the SNB in civil court to
gain quiet title of the property and buildings. When they lose the lawsuit and the
subsequent appeal they attempt to assume control by fiat.

The HGOC board can not find the original SNB bylaws, even though they were
passed from previous board president Mr. Paul Boris to a new president. The
board then attempts to write new bylaws, favorable to themselves, creating an
end around take over of the SNB corporation. A parish vote on this scheme, May
31st., 2009, was pushed thru, despite the lack of a quorum of fifty "qualified"
members. Thirty eight of the fourty two members present presumed to decide
the fate of the SNB, and therefore continue with the property sale.

Some sixty to ninety thousand dollars have been diverted, or with held to pay
for lawyers and court costs (the HGOC baord is understandably vague on a
figure) to obtain control over SNB property leased to them by the founding
fathers and families.

The HGOC board and priest have attempted to trivialize and ridicule the
original SNB and claim they are against the "baking ladies" (father John and
Pani's peroghi factory) and retired parishioners and widows who desire HUD

Information given to the congregation is filtered, selective and censored, to
show the HGOC board in a progressive light and the SNB as a cult of malcontents.
It is no surprise that a split in the congregation has occurred, with a noticeable
drop in attendance and donations.

The majority of Phoenixville residents are against the HUD building proposal
and the sale of the SNB property to Evans. As of this date they have applied
insufficient pressure to most of the elected officials to vote out and eliminate this

Asi Seeit, 06-09-2009

P. 2


Anonymous said...

Brilliant! Maybe all the docs were copies of the newspaper articles, blogs, council minutes, and comments, in a chronological order. Easy enough to assemble. Lightning does strike twice!

Karen said...

Phoenixville Planning Commission
June 11, 2009
7:00 p.m.

1. Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance

2. Roll Call


Approval of Minutes 04/23/2009, 05/14/2009 and 05/28/2009

Zoning Hearing or Conditional Use Applications

a) PCE 09-03: St. Peters Senior Housing at Holy Ghost Church
Tax Parcel: 15-10-104, 15-10-106, 15-10-97 and 15-10-98
Property Address: 55 Starr Street
Conditional Use: To construct 80 senior citizen units
Applicant: St. Peter Place/St. Peters Housing Corporation
111 Church Street
Phoenixville, PA 19460
Application Date: 03/23/2009 (fees paid)
Action Needed: 09/01/2009

Public Participation (limited to 30 minutes)

b) CUE 09-01: Donald’s Barber Shop
Tax Parcel: 15-5-526
Property Address: 123 High Street
Conditional Use: To operate a barbershop
Applicant: Aisha W. Ford-Bey
120 Jackson Street
Phoenixville, PA 19460
Application Date: 05/08/2009 (fees paid)
Action Needed: 07/07/2009

Public Participation (limited to 30 minutes)

Old Business

New Business

a) PCE 09-02: St. Peters Senior Housing at Holy Ghost Church
Tax Parcel: 15-10-104, 15-10-106, 15-10-97 and 15-10-98
Property Address: 55 Starr Street
Proposed Development: To construct 80 senior citizen units and 2 commercial units
Applicant: St. Peter Place/St. Peters Housing Corporation
111 Church Street
Phoenixville, PA 19460
Preliminary/Final Plan: Hibbeln Engineering Company, LLC
593 Skippack Pike, Suite 300
Blue Bell, PA 19422
Application Date: 03/17/2009 (fees paid)
Action Needed: 09/01/2009

Public Participation (limited to 30 minutes

b) PCE 09-07: Village of Eland – Mixed Use Shopping Center
Tax Parcel: 15-111-89
Property Address: Route 113 (Kimberton Road)
Proposed Development: Redevelopment of entire shopping center
Applicant: 113 Corporation
P.O. Box 849
Valley Forge, PA 19482
Zoning Amendment: Ryan A. Costello, Esquire
347 Bridge Street, Suite 200
Phoenixville, PA 19460
Application Date: 05/21/2009 (fees paid)
Action Needed: Indefinite

Public Participation (limited to 30 minutes

9. Review of Proposed Ordinance


Anonymous said...

You might find this where art is imitating life: sorry if not in write site.

Anonymous said...

Father John, You should be ashamed of yourself for saying such hurtful things to the ladies behind you at the meeting.

I have never witnessed such disrepect and anger from a man of the cloth. Now I know why I am not a part of a church

Anonymous said...

First I want to apologize to you for the behavior, hostile words and actions (faces, learing, sticking his tounge out) by Father John Fedornock. This was horrible and I am ashamed to be a member of his parish as no one deserves to be treated as you were especially by a man with a title of Priest.

When the many woman chuckeled - he told them to leave and be respectful. This man does not follow his own orders nor sets a good example to his people now does he.

God Bless you Karen for having the courage to ensure Mark Clemm back down, Deb Johnson manage the meeting as she was sworn to do and continue reading the historical findings of the professor.

I hope that the authentic officers of the SNB get the guts to sue the signer of the agreement of sale on the revised agreement of sale dated last June by J Bilanan.

Anonymous said...

how weird! why is this man still serving this parish? ewww.

Anonymous said...

Who will pay for the repair, shoveling and safety along the sidewalks along railroad bridge from town to Mont Clare on SNB property?

If the congregation did not aprove such a stipulation how the heck can this be added to project along with changes in building, increase in lot being sold etc. etc. and use revisions?

Since the congreation voted on 3 criteria's, at this stage isn't Clemm liable for a huge lawsuit?

What about Samilenko for proceeding without a new vote of the correct entity with revisions to overall plan?