Berkeley Div. still faces state scrutiny

While Yale and Berkeley Divinity School officials are placing the finishing touches on a new reaffiliation agreement, the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office is still investigating possible misappropriated funds within Berkeley.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has asked the school to turn over many of the school’s financial records and documents.

Berkeley, an Episcopal seminary affiliated with the Yale Divinity School, has been at the center of a controversy over alleged financial mismanagement since December.

Blumenthal said the investigation will focus on “whether funds were misappropriated, especially ones that were donated or contributed over the years.”

“It’s active and ongoing,” Blumenthal said of the inquiry. “We’re waiting for some additional documents from the [Berkeley] Divinity School.”

Stanley A. Twardy Jr., an attorney who has been retained by Berkeley, said the school is in the process of gathering the documents and intends to comply fully.

“We have indicated a willingness to cooperate and look forward to providing them with the information that they need,” said Twardy, who is an attorney at Day, Berry and Howard of Hartford.

In a Feb. 6 letter to Twardy, Blumenthal requested documents including information about Berkeley endowment funds, gifts, loans given to employees of the school, American Express statements, and the school’s payments of former Dean R. William Franklin’s daughter’s Harvard Medical School tuition.

The Hartford Courant reported in December that a Yale-initiated confidential audit showed that Franklin had improperly spent school money on his daughter’s Harvard Medical School tuition and other personal expenses. Franklin resigned from the school in early January, and Berkeley recently hired the Rev. Frederick Borsch as its interim dean.

Christian R. Sonne, the chairman of Berkeley’s board of trustees, told the Yale Daily News in late January that he had approved Franklin’s request for a $10,000 tuition payment and was unaware that such a payment violated University policy.

Blumenthal said he hopes to conclude the investigation shortly.

“We hope that we will conclude it in the couple next months, but the timing depends on how cooperative Berkeley is,” Blumenthal said. “They have been relatively cooperative, and we’re hoping they will continue to be cooperative.”

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