Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Bank Freezes Accounts of St. John’s, Bristol

The first lawsuit between the Bishop of Connecticut and the vestry of St. John’s, Bristol, was filed in early August when Farmington Savings Bank lodged an interpleader with the New Britain Superior Court, asking it to determine ownership of the parish checking accounts.

Around Aug. 1 a representative of the diocese contacted the Farmington Savings Bank asking that new signature cards be prepared for the parish bank account giving nominees of the diocese control of the funds. At approximately the same time, St. John’s vestry contacted the bank asking that new account numbers be assigned and that the bank statements be mailed to a new address.

Farmington Savings Bank responded to the conflicting requests by placing the funds in court hands by asking for an interpleader. An interpleader is a legal proceeding that allows someone to compel parties making the same claim against him to litigate the matter between themselves.

A spokesman for the diocese told The Living Church the Rt. Rev. Andrew D. Smith was on vacation and unavailable for comment.

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