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San Francisco is battling it out with the Catholic Archdiocese over the transfer of church properties to non-profit groups, and whether or not the church owes millions of tax dollars for the transferring of this property.

The Archdiocese has transferred over 233 of its properties to two new Catholic non-profit-holding companies, but there is speculation that it simply did this to protect its properties from future lawsuits. The church has, after all, already coughed up $40 million in sexual abuse lawsuits.

The city wants the Archdiocese to pay property transfer taxes like everybody else, which according to San Francisco Assessor- Recorder Phil Ting, would fall anywhere between $3-15 million in transfer tax.

The Archdiocese however, is appealing this tax bill at a City Hall hearing taking place this week.

Director of the Archdiocese, George Wesolek, stated that other interfaith groups are “concerned about the fact that this is an unwarranted intrusion on the part of the state into religious affairs.”

Some of the more popular properties include Mission Dolores, Old St. Mary’s, and St. Francis of Assisi Church.

If the Archdiocese wins their case, this can be the second largest transfer tax in city history.

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  • LibertyHiller

    The City has let private business get away with this sort of things for as long as I can remember, the most prominent example being the cable TV franchise. It has changed hands in the last 20 years from Viacom to AT&T to Comcast (I think I’m missing one in there, but I do not recall the details), and each time, there was a nod and a wink and that was the end of it. The Archdiocese is a non-profit that is redefining the title to some of this town’s most notable assets to other non-profits, and now the City wants a cut? I hope the church wins this one, even if it has to go to the California Supremes to be settled.

  • LibertyHiller

    The City has let private business get away with this sort of things for as long as I can remember, the most prominent example being the cable TV franchise. It has changed hands in the last 20 years from Viacom to AT&T to Comcast (I think I’m missing one in there, but I do not recall the details), and each time, there was a nod and a wink and that was the end of it. The Archdiocese is a non-profit that is redefining the title to some of this town’s most notable assets to other non-profits, and now the City wants a cut? I hope the church wins this one, even if it has to go to the California Supremes to be settled.