Sisters who sold Loretto High for $7.75 million can begin spending, appellate court rules
(California Catholic Daily) Attorneys for the Diocese of Sacramento and seven donors to the now defunct Loretto High School are mulling whether to appeal an unfavorable ruling in a dispute over $7.75 million the sisters of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary received when they sold the campus last year.
Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto joined seven other plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, an order of women religious that ran Loretto High School for 54 years before announcing that the girls’ college-prep school would close its doors for good in June 2009. The sisters cited declining enrollment and financial hardship.
At issue is an estimated $4.5 million donated to the school from a 2001-2002 fundraising drive. The money was used to double the size of the campus, construct a new science building, a performing arts center, visual arts studios, a swimming complex, an athletic field, additional parking and for renovations of some of the already existing school buildings.
In May 2009, the sisters of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary sold the 9-acre Loretto campus to Aspire Public Schools, a non-profit firm that operates 21 charter schools across California, for $7.75 million -- $5.75 million up front, with the remaining $2 million due in 2012.
The lawsuit, filed by the bishop and seven others in Sacramento Superior Court in June 2009, seeks a portion of the proceeds from the sale. The Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, according to the suit, wants to use the money to provide retirement benefits for members of the order at its U.S. motherhouse in Wheaton, Ill...