Petition 81379

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Censure of James Holsinger (81379-JA-NonDis)

Whereas, James W. Holsinger <http://www.mediatransparency.org/story.php?storyID=198>, MD, was elected to our church’s Judicial Council in May, 2000, and has been president of the Judicial Council since 2004, and
Whereas, the duties of the Judicial Council include “determining the legality of any action taken by any body created by or authorized by the General Conference” and the General Conference has therefore recognized as a matter of critical importance that members of the Judicial Council avoid conflicts of interest, as illustrated by the prohibition on service on other boards and agencies of the church, and
Whereas, following election to the Judicial Council in May 2000, Dr. Holsinger joined the board of trustees of the Good Samaritan Foundation (GSF) of Lexington, Kentucky, in July 2000,  knowing that GSF had, three months earlier, in May 2000, become the subject of litigation by the Kentucky Conference of the United Methodist Church, and  
Whereas, two former members of the Judicial Council who worked with Holsinger from 2000-2004, Sally C. Askew, Esq., and Sally B. Geis, Ph.D., stated that Holsinger never mentioned having joined an organization that was being sued by a constituent body of the United Methodist Church, nor did he at any time address possible conflicts of interest involved in being a member of the UMC's Judicial Council while engaged in significant litigation against the UMC, and
Whereas the essence of the lawsuit between the Kentucky Annual Conference and the Good Samaritan Foundation related to church property ownership issues, and the Court found there was an “express trust” on behalf of the United Methodist Church, based on the surrounding facts and circumstances, and safeguarding property trust being a central duty for United Methodist leaders to protect, and a topic of Judicial Council decisions, and
Whereas, the GSF trustees which Dr. Holsinger,  member and subsequently chair of the Judicial Council, joined, and of which he became chair in 2003, were in violation of their fiduciary responsibilities as trustees of United Methodist hospital property in the amount of $20 million realized from the sale in 1995 of 330 bed United Methodist Good Samaritan Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, to a for-profit corporation, and which trustees refused to hand over the proceeds to the rightful owners, the Kentucky Annual Conference (KAC) of the UMC, and
Whereas, according to court records, the foundation's trustees refused to tell the KAC what happened to the $20 million from the sale of the UMC hospital for nearly five years and as late as June of 2006 the lay and clergy members of the KAC felt compelled to pass a resolution formally seeking necessary "[i]nformation on assets, income earned, tax issues...investment practices, conflicts of interest, and other information" from the foundation, and
Whereas, despite his Judicial Council responsibilities as one of the highest elected officials of the United Methodist Church, and in apparent ignorance of Methodism’s commitment to building dozens of hospitals in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to provide care for the poor and indigent  Dr. Holsinger in a letter to GSF grantees questioned the motives and integrity of the UMC, publicly stating his belief that the UMC was "only interested in the Foundation's money, not its cause" [health care for the poor and disadvantaged], and
Whereas, Dr. Holsinger was not a bystander in these events, but the dominant personality among the trustees and the driving force in the prolongation of the lawsuit, as evidenced by the lawsuit’s rapid conclusion two weeks after Dr. Holsinger’s resignation from the trustees in May, 2007, and
Whereas, during the period of this litigation, Dr. Holsinger was affiliated with the University of Kentucky as Chancellor of the Chandler Medical Center from 1994-2003, and the University of Kentucky’s programs in medicine, nursing, dentistry and public health were awarded 63% of $8,430,363 in grants awarded by GSF from July 1, 1997 through June 30, 2006 including the endowment of two academic chairs valued at a million dollars each, despite GSF’s own policies that, "[major organizations" such as "[h]ospitals, [c]olleges and [u]niversities are not eligible as a general statement," although exceptions could be made by the trustees, and  
Whereas during the time Dr. Holsinger was chair of the GSF trustees, additional conflicts of interest were permitted by other trustees, as admitted by GSF in a May 23, 2005 letter to the Kentucky Annual Conference namely that three GSF trustees who worked at Lexington-area financial institutions were involved in managing or had previously managed the assets of the foundation while serving on the board., and  
Whereas the Kentucky Annual Conference told the GSF that it was "unconscionable" that after a decade this gross conflict of interest continued and that the funds were still not being professionally managed by experts with no personal relationship to the board putting Dr. Holsinger in violation of the standards of ethics set by the UMC for trustees of church organizations, and in gross violation of the basic tenets of accepted ethical conduct , and
Whereas, the litigation by GSF against the United Methodist Church, much of it under Judicial Council president Holsinger’s tenure squandered $1,083,133 in legal fees from July 1, 1997 through July 1, 2006, which Dr. Holsinger had a duty to protect for the benefit of GSF’s beneficiaries,  
Therefore, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church:
            1.  Censures Dr. James Holsinger for conduct which we consider to be in grave conflict with his duties as member and president of the Judicial Council, conduct which has dissipated United Methodist resources, which has brought disrepute to the church, and which constitute “relationships and/or behavior that undermine the ministry” of United Methodists;
    2.  Calls for heightened commitment by all Judicial Council members to ethical standards of conduct, especially regarding conflicts of interest, for full disclosure of pre-existing potential conflicts of interest and for commitment not to enter into new responsibilities after election to the Judicial Council which may conflict with their Judicial Council duties;
    3.  Calls for all Boards of United Methodist affiliated institutions and agencies to review their by-laws, affiliations and legal documents to assure compliance with Disciplinary paragraphs 2501, 2503, and 2506 and to minimize the potential for conflicts such as KAC V. GSF;
            4.  Calls for the Judicial Council newly elected in 2008 to review all Judicial Council decisions during the time of Dr. Holsinger’s tenure, recognizing that such decisions are final, but nevertheless reporting to the General Church its findings as to whether any decisions now appear questionable in light of Dr. Holsinger’s conflicts of interest and his litigation against the United Methodist Church while serving as a high elected official.
October 23, 2007  
 The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, 2004, ¶2609.4,
  The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, 2004, ¶2606
communication. (2007a). In July and August of 2007, Weaver and McGaughey  communicated with two individuals who served with Holsinger on the UMC "Supreme Court" from 2000-2004.
   Commonwealth of Kentucky Court of Appeals. (2005). Case Number 2003-CA-2625, Good Samaritan Hospital of Lexington, Kentucky; Good Samaritan Foundation, Inc.; Good Samaritan Foundation; Good Samaritan Corporation 1; Good Samaritan Service Corporation, II; Good Samaritan Service Corporation, III; Internet Service Corp.; and WWW.Charityball.Inc. vs Kentucky Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and the Global Board of Ministries of the United Methodist Church.  
  Mistler, D.T., and Guilfoyle, M.D. (2006). Memorandum to Bishop James R. King, Jr., regarding Good Samaritan Foundation litigation <http://ky.brickriver.com/files/oForms_YJ7JB6/GSF_Timeline_-_6-2-06_SVCYA3RM.pdf>, June 2, 2006. Retrieved August 7, 2007.
  Commonwealth of Kentucky Court of Appeals. (2005). Case Number 2003-CA-2625, Good Samaritan Hospital of Lexington, Kentucky; Good Samaritan Foundation, Inc.; Good Samaritan Foundation; Good Samaritan Corporation 1; Good Samaritan Service Corporation, II; Good Samaritan Service Corporation, III; Internet Service Corp.; and WWW.Charityball.Inc. vs Kentucky Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and the Global Board of Ministries of the United Methodist Church.  
  Ward, K. (2006a). Methodist Church approves some Good Samaritan Foundation grants. Lexington Herald-Leader, June 12, 2006.
  Holifield, E.B. (1986). Health and medicine and the Methodist tradition: Journey toward wholeness (Health/Medicine and the Faith Traditions). New York: Crossroad.
  Assembled Reflections <http://revmorgan.blogspot.com/>. (2006). The Conference is in a lawsuit... with the president of the Judicial Council, June 10, 2006. Retrived August 20, 2007.  Ward, K. (2006b). Church-foundation dispute imperils grant funds for needy medical care. Lexington Herald-Leader, May 26, 2006
  Personal communication. (2007b). In July and August of 2007, Weaver and McGaughey  communicated with several individuals who are highly knowledgeable about the KAC litigation and Holsinger's actions.
  Personal communication. (2007b). In July and August of 2007, Weaver and McGaughey communicated with several individuals who are highly knowledgeable about the KAC litigation and Holsinger's actions.
  GuideStar.org <http://www.guidestar.org/>. (2007). IRS Forms 990, 1997-2006; Good Samaritan Hospital of Lexington Kentucky and Good Samaritan Foundation Inc. Retrieved August 1, 2007.
(2006). Good Samaritan Foundation litigation: Time-line exhibits 1-12 <http://ky.brickriver.com/files/oForms_YJ7JB6/GSF_Timeline_-_All_Exhibits_1-12_(6-2-06)_UUYGC4YZ.pdf>, June 2, 2006. Retrieved August 3, 2007.
  KAC. (2006). Good Samaritan Foundation litigation: Time-line exhibits 1-12 <http://ky.brickriver.com/files/oForms_YJ7JB6/GSF_Timeline_-_All_Exhibits_1-12_(6-2-06)_UUYGC4YZ.pdf>, June 2, 2006. Retrieved August 3, 2007.
   GuideStar.org <http://www.guidestar.org/>. (2007). IRS Forms 990, 1997-2006; Good Samaritan Hospital of Lexington Kentucky and Good Samaritan Foundation Inc. Retrieved August 1, 2007.  Those individuals are Samuel G. Barnes, President and CEO of Fifth Third Bank, Kentucky; Linda L. Rumpke, Executive Vice President and Managing Director for Private Client Services at JP Morgan in Lexington; and Richard J. Lyon, now retired from the management of National City Bank in Lexington.
  KAC. (2006). Good Samaritan Foundation litigation: Time-line exhibits 1-12 <http://ky.brickriver.com/files/oForms_YJ7JB6/GSF_Timeline_-_All_Exhibits_1-12_(6-2-06)_UUYGC4YZ.pdf>, June 2, 2006. Retrieved August 3, 2007.
Logan, M. (2000). The buck stops here: Legal and ethical responsibilities for United Methodist organizations. Nashville: Discipleship Resources.
GuideStar.org <http://www.guidestar.org/>. (2007). IRS Forms 990, 1997-2006; Good Samaritan Hospital of Lexington Kentucky and Good Samaritan Foundation Inc. Retrieved August 1, 2007.
  Discipline of the United Methodist Church, 2004, ¶2702.3(j)
  Discipline of the United Methodist Church, 2004, The Constitution, ¶57, Article III
resolution is based on research of Rev. Andrew J. Weaver, Ph.D. and Lawrence H. McGaughey, Esq. <http://www.mediatransparency.org/authorprofile.php?authorID=19>, August 31, 2007, “Milking a church cash cow:  The strange saga of the United Methodist Church's $20 million and Surgeon General Nominee James Holsinger”  Rev. Andrew J. Weaver, Ph.D., is a United Methodist minister and research psychologist who has written extensively on the role of clergy in preventive mental health care. He lives in New York City. He has co-authored 12 books including: Counseling Survivors of Traumatic Events (Abingdon, 2003), Reflections on Grief and the Spiritual Journey (Abingdon, 2005), Counseling Persons with Addictions and Compulsions (Pilgrim, 2007), and Connected Spirits: Friends and Spiritual Journeys (Pilgrim, 2007).  Lawrence H. McGaughey, Esq., is an attorney practicing law in New York City with specialties in real estate, trusts and estates and not-for-profit organizations. He has represented many United Methodist churches and organizations and is the Chancellor of the New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church . Any views stated in this article are personal and are not intended to represent the views of any client.

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