Four Wilmington church workers have negotiated an agreement with Bishop W. Francis Malooly that pumps millions into the pension of diocesan employees and apparently clears the last obstacle to the diocese’s bankruptcy case.
Under the agreement, announced Wednesday by the Committee of Lay Employees, the diocese will aggressively address deficits in its pension plan, adding $10 million to the $10 million Lay Employee Pension Trust by the end of this year, Delaware Online reports.
At least $10 million more would be added in 2016-17, with at least another $2 million added each year until full funding is reached in 2060. It was not clear where all the money would come from, but a capital campaign is expected to provide much of it. Also included is an agreement that the plan will be frozen at the end of 2011, with no additional benefits added.
The deal resolves the last apparent sticking point in the diocese’s 2-year-old bankruptcy case. Its creditors, including about 150 survivors of clergy sexual abuse, must vote on the amended restructuring plan by June 30. A July 8 hearing before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Sontchi will address any other issues.
The diocese filed for Chapter 11 protection in October 2009 after scores of survivors of clergy abuse filed suit under provisions of Delaware’s 2009 Child Victims Act, which opened a two-year window for civil suits that would otherwise have been barred by the statute of limitations.
Lay employee pension accord clears way for bankruptcy case (Delaware Online)