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Originally published Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 4:55 PM

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Christian Brothers order puts assets at $74M in bankruptcy papers

The business arm of the North American branch of the Christian Brothers Roman Catholic order has listed assets of about $74 million in bankruptcy-court documents filed last week.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The business arm of the North American branch of the Christian Brothers Roman Catholic order has listed assets of about $74 million in bankruptcy-court documents filed last week.

The Christian Brothers Institute, based in New Rochelle, N.Y., filed for Chapter 11 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York on Thursday, citing numerous sexual-abuse lawsuits. It listed its estimated number of creditors as between 50 and 99.

In the U.S., most of those lawsuits come from the Seattle area, stemming from abuses decades ago at the now-closed Briscoe Memorial School near Kent and by a teacher formerly at O'Dea High School in Seattle. Both schools were run by the Christian Brothers.

The bankruptcy is not expected to affect O'Dea High, which is owned by the Seattle Archdiocese.

In court documents, CBI said it needed time to liquidate its assets, much of which are in real estate.

Also on Thursday, the Chicago-based Christian Brothers of Ireland, which is part of the same order, filed for bankruptcy. It listed assets of about $1.5 million.

Both organizations listed their total liabilities as "unknown."

The bankruptcy court on Monday granted a motion for the two cases to be jointly administered.

The order, variously known as the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers, the Congregation of Christian Brothers and the Irish Christian Brothers, was founded in 1802 by Irishman Edmund Ignatius Rice. It established schools around the world. It is a separate order from the De La Salle Christian Brothers, which also runs a number of schools worldwide.

Janet I. Tu: 206-464-2272 or jtu@seattletimes.com. Times researcher David Turim contributed.

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