Troy priest under investigation following Archdiocese audit - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Troy priest under investigation following Archdiocese audit

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Rev. Edward Belczak Rev. Edward Belczak

By Amy Lange
Fox 2 News


TROY, Mich. (WJBK) -- Father Edward Belczak has presided over the Parish of St. Thomas More in Troy for nearly 30 years.  He is now under investigation and removed from his post pending the outcome after an audit by the Archdiocese discovered more than $400,000 had disappeared over the course of six years.

It's an allegation that has shaken those who know and love the priest.

"He's just a wonderful man that is not only important in the Catholic community, but in Troy as a community," says Mary Ellen Carroll Frye.

Her daughters were married by Father Belczak.  Her husband and her daughter, Tiffany, were buried by Father Belczak.  He is the priest that has been so instrumental in their lives.

"We are filled with disbelief, and I think we all have to remember that these are allegations," she says.

But the allegations against the 67-year-old priest are alarming, including taking $92,000 in excess compensation.  Directing $16,000 to himself instead of the parish.  $240,000 including benefits to a ghost employee.  $26,000 in medical and dental coverage for someone.  A $20,000 disability policy for one employee.  Accepting but not recording $25,000 in commission checks to the St. Thomas More travel group.  Failing to record or deposit collections for Mother's Day and Father's Day and failing to monitor more than $10,000 found in an employee's office desk.

We are told Father Belczak is very well liked and respected at the church.  Everyone is just waiting to see the results of this investigation.  But when we went to the office for comment, we were asked to leave the property.

At the Troy Police Department, we were told an investigation is underway, but police are nowhere close to wrapping it up or presenting anything to the Oakland County Prosecutor for possible charges.

So, for now, the people of this parish wait and wonder and pray.

"He's not been convicted of anything, and until that all comes out, I think we need to be thinking about him and praying for him," Carroll Frye says.

Monsignor John Zenz has been named administrator of the parish.

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