Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Who Is The ‘Personal Chef’ Of Cardinal Donald Wuerl?

By George Neumayr

(The Daily CallerA flashy and expensive white Mercedes rolled out from the four-car garage of Donald Wuerl around 10:05 PM on December 11. I was there in the parking lot of Queen of the Americas parish at 2200 California street in the luxurious neighborhood known commonly as Embassy Row.

The Catholic cardinal of the nation’s capital since 2006, Wuerl has long had a reputation for high living — despite his exalted status as the most powerful American prelate in what the media calls the “humble church” of Pope Francis. (In his previous posting as a bishop in Pittsburgh, he lived in a 31-room mansion filled with antiques, rugs, and art.) But few know the details of his furtive pursuits on Embassy Row — a posh lifestyle which stands in shocking contrast to the simplicity Pope Francis insists he wants his shepherds to embrace.

I got a small glimpse of that contrast as I watched the white Mercedes move towards me. I put up my hand and the driver stopped and got out. “Do you work for Cardinal Wuerl?” I asked the black man, who appeared to be late middle age, as he exited the white Mercedes. “Yes,” he said. “I am his personal chef.” 

Unaware that Cardinal Wuerl employed a personal chef, I asked the gentleman his name. He refused to give it. But he did describe himself as “an archdiocesan employee.”

Was the white Mercedes an archdiocesan vehicle? “I don’t know what you are implying,” said the man, who claimed the vehicle as his own, for which he paid with earnings from his time in the “military.” 

Nervous and upset, the man resented my stopping him. “I got to get back to Baltimore,” he complained. 

Earlier in the day, I had called Fr. Charles Cortinovis, the personal secretary to Cardinal Wuerl, multiple times and received no response. I had learned that Cortinovis lives, along with Wuerl, on the fourth floor of the archdiocesan building at 2200 California, a property priced at north of $43,000,000. 

Cortinovis is the third personal secretary to Cardinal Wuerl during a tenure less than a decade. The other two had also lived on the same floor with the cardinal, which is “12,000 square feet,” according to a rough estimate by a lawyer familiar with the property records for the building... (continued)


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