Who's Paying For Bishop's 21-Acre Estate? - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Who's Paying For Bishop's 21-Acre Estate?

MUNSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Bishop Anthony Pilla (pictured, right) has been dealing with a barrage of questions recently about allegations of sexual abuse with the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, but now questions are being asked about who is paying for his 21-acre estate.

The questions being asked by Tom Meyer, The Investigator, were part of an exclusive Action News report.

How would you like to kick back in a luxury home on 21 acres of land in rural Geauga County? The property includes tennis and basketball courts, a lake, central air, a security system, a gas grill and lots of land and woods for hiking.

This describes a piece of land in Pilla's name. Not many of the local Catholics who give generously to the church could afford to live in a similar home. After all, it's a beautiful piece of property valued at more than $513,000. Property taxes are nearly $8,000 a year.

So who's paying those huge bills? The county said that it's none other than the diocese -- more specifically, those people who donate their hard-earned money to the diocese.

The property was donated to Pilla in 1995 by Cleveland Indians owner Larry Dolan.

"The intention was simply they thought it would be a nice thing to do and offered it to the bishop as kind of a getaway place," diocese spokesman Bob Tayak said. "It was to be used as he could for retreats."

Pilla stays in the home about 10 times a year and the diocese knows of only one retreat. The diocese said that two-thirds of the money put into the place -- money that they would not disclose -- has been donated.

Could the diocese and Pilla put the valuable piece of property to better use other than to provide a more comfortable lifestyle for the bishop?

"At this point there hasn't been any reason to expand beyond what it is," Tayak answered.

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