Silenced Transparency

Archbishop Demetrios states "they are examining the matter up there at the school." Rev. Nicholas Triantafillou said he promised to talk when the investigation is completed. Where is the Audit Committee? Who is the Audit Committee?

-- Christos Papoutsy

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Investigation into HC/HC Finances Launched
By Theodore Kalmoukos,
Special to The National Herald

BOSTON-- The sudden departure of Leon Zaimes, the financial controller of Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology, has raised many questions among the personnel, faculty and student body of the school.

Unexpectedly, 10 days ago, Zaimes, who has been the financial officer of the school for more than a decade, took off on a personal leave of absence, without an official explanation or briefing by the school's administration.

James Karloutsos, the newly appointed chief of operations, changed the locks in Zaimes' office. At the same time, an investigation has been launched into the school's finances.

The school administration's silence has provoked the talk of many in the archdiocese and on campus, some of whom speak of financial improprieties. There is also talk at the school about an incident between Zaimes and a theological student which turned violent and ended up in court.

In a telephone interview, Zaimes declined any wrongdoing and said that "he has taken a personal leave of absence." He also told the Herald that he will be going back to work at the school.

THE NATIONAL HERALD: Why did you take a leave of absence?

Zaimes: It is my personal business and I do not wish to comment on that.

Has there been financial misconduct or misappropriation of funds on your part at the School of Theology?

What happened with that incident with student Greg Lemonson?
I do not wish to comment. There is nothing that happened, what happened.

Did you say nothing happened?

Are you going back to the school to work?

When I do.

Any timeframe?
No comment.

Why don't you talk to me please?
Because it's my personal business and not the world's, that is why.

Have you done nothing wrong at the school?

No money is missing?

Why did you leave?
That is my personal business. People take leaves of absence all the time.

The National Herald also spoke to Archbishop Demetrios and James Karloutsos about the matter.

The National Herald: Your Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, do you have anything to say about the matter that has appeared at the School of Theology with its financial controller Leon Zaimes?

Demetrios: At this moment I have nothing special because they are examining the matter up there at the school. I have nothing at this moment definite or concrete and consequently I have nothing to say.

You have been informed though?
I have basic information that a problem exists, but it is under investigation.

They did not tell you details?
Do not go any further. I am not in a position to give you details because I expect a full and final account of evidence.

The National Herald: What happened with Leon Zaimes?
Karloutsos: He took a personal leave of absence.

I have no idea.

Who knows about the case?
There is no case.

What do you mean, he just took off?
He took a leave of absence, a personal leave of absence.

Why? What seems to be the problem?
I have no idea, that's why it's personal.

But you changed the locks at his office?
That is only for security purposes.

The president of Hellenic College and Holy Cross, Rev. Nicholas Triantafillou, initially did not return the Herald's phone call. But when this reporter saw him at a social gathering on November 4, Triantafillou did not decline the existence of a problem, but he avoided discussing it.

"Do not put me in a difficult position," he said, and promised to talk when the investigation is completed.

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