HUBER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WDTN) — The Archdiocese of Cincinnati is continuing its investigation into financial irregularities at St. Peter Catholic Church while some of the former pastor’s property is going up for sale.
The Archdiocese said it wants to be forthcoming with information, but a spokesman said they can’t comment because they don’t want to jeopardize the investigation.
2 NEWS confirmed at least eight of the properties owned by Father Earl Simone are now up for sale. Some of the rental properties are being sold by Summers Realty. The realty company said no one is being kicked out and they are honoring tenants’ rights.
St. Peter Catholic Church came under investigation for financial irregularities after the Archdiocese of Cincinnati received an ethics complaint in February 2015. The diocese has not said who is being investigated and has not disclosed how much money is involved.
Simone came to St. Peter after serving at St. Teresa in Springfield from 1977-1980 and then retiring as a chaplain of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. According to the parish website, Simone served as pastor at St. Peter from 1992 until 2015. In July 2014, he was also appointed parochial administrator of Our Lady of the Rosary, St. Adalbert, St. Stephen, and Holy Cross. Simone resigned from his positions in April 2015 and the Archbishop granted his request for medical retirement.
In a letter to St. Peter parishioners inserted in the church bulletin, Simone cited “age, health, and personal concerns,” as the reasons for his resignation and retirement.
After digging through Montgomery County property records 2 NEWS discovered Simone owns more than two million in property. Some of the property was transferred to his company, Flynn Realty Inc., after the investigation into the church began.
The Archdiocese said a priest can own property and does not have to take a vow of poverty, but under Catholic Canon Law, cannot have a business.
The diocese said it was made aware of Simone’s business, Flynn Realty, after the probe into St. Peter was initiated. Simone reportedly also used the church mailing address for his company.
The Archdiocese said auditors are continuing with the investigation, going back several years. No charges have been filed.