Anglican Unscripted Episode 220
Mar 2, 2016
Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Each Episode Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe.
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A.S. Haley: Bishop Bruno Tries to Serve Two Masters
Under California law, a religious body or organization may create a unique form of corporation, called a corporation sole, whose principal purpose is to allow the parent organization (which may or may not itself be incorporated) to hold title to real property. A corporation sole is different from the usual variety of that entity: it has a single officer, director and shareholder, who are all one and the same person, called "the incumbent of the corp sole." The governing body makes the rules for who can be the incumbent. Typically it is that body's bishop or other spiritual leader.
Bishops may come and go, but corporations sole do not. Under law, their existence is perpetual -- and that is why they are a good vehicle for maintaining ownership of real property. And like any religious organization, they are not-for-profit, and pay no income taxes.
So it comes as a bit of a surprise to learn that Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles is at odds with his own Diocese over the disclosure of financial information concerning the corporation sole of which he is the incumbent. (In order to avoid a vote on an outside audit of his corp sole at the diocesan convention last December, Bishop Bruno promised to disclose its financial statements.)
Readers will remember that +Bruno and his corp sole became embroiled in litigation last summer over the bishop's plans to sell the valuable, near-oceanfront real estate of the congregation of St. James the Great, in Newport Beach, California -- after he won a lawsuit to recover that property from the ACNA congregation that voted to leave his Diocese. The original developer who gave the property to the Episcopal Diocese for the building of a local church had placed a restrictive covenant on it, which specified that if the property ever ceased to be used for church purposes, it would revert to the developer...