Court’s the next step in the skirmish between San Francisco’s Catholic Archdiocese and Assessor-Recorder (and possible contender for Mayor) Phil Ting.

Back in October, we covered San Francisco’s fight with the local 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.

At the time, we noted that 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.

Last night, however, the Chronicle is reporting (there’s good coverage from the SFBG too) that the Transfer Tax Appeals Board unanimously ruled that the archdiocese owes City Hall $14.4 million in unpaid property transfer taxes. According to the Chronicle, “a church spokesman called the ruling disappointing and suggested it may have been motivated by greed and politics.”

Maurice Healy, spokesman for the archdiocese, said in a statement released to the media:

We are glad that having exhausted the required administrative process we can finally proceed to a formal, neutral civil court forum. We trust that the civil court will carefully consider the applicable law, devoid of the sensationalism and politics that the archdiocese thus far has faced.

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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