Archdiocese asks court to allow it to avail of federal pandemic funding

Cathedral Basilica Archdiocese of Agana (PNC file photo)

The Archdiocese of Guam is asking the federal court to rule in their favor so that the Church can avail itself of federal funding under the pandemic.

The government raised concerns over the possible misuse of federal funds by the Catholic Church if granted eligibility under the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program or PPP loan forgiveness program.

But Archdiocese of Agana’s bankruptcy attorney Ford Elsaesser says that’s nothing more than a fabrication.

Elsaesser contends that there is no basis for the SBA to discriminate or classify the Catholic Church as ineligible.

He told District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood that the idea that somehow the Chapter 11 would subject the PPP to inappropriate utilization is really nothing other than a fabrication.

“There’s absolutely positively no indication that an organizing Chapter 11 debtor would be somehow more prone or more likely to abuse the PPP than any other borrower,” he said.

Elsaesser argues that it’s a violation for the SBA to essentially come up with a justification that can’t be explained in the context of how a Chapter 11 operates. More importantly, he said there is no historical ruling on record.

Chief Judge Tydingco-Gatewood has taken the matter under advisement and will issue a decision.


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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.