Scandale financier autour de la restauration de l'Eglise Saint Nicolas à New York.
Rappel : elle a été détruite lors des attentats du 11 septembre 2001
The resurrection of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, destroyed on 9/11, has turned into an $80 million boondoggle — and now the feds want to know where the money went.
The US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan is probing the project’s finances and those of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, according to The National Herald, a newspaper covering the Greek community.
The state Attorney General’s Office is also investigating, reported the paper, which said as much as $15 million has gone missing from the construction accounts for the half-built church, to be called the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine.
The project is funded by tens of millions in private donations.
Meanwhile, the project’s price tag has soared from $30 million to $80 million. And work came to a standstill in December when the archdiocese was unable to pay the contractor. The shrine was supposed to be completed in 2016.
The domed structure — made of the same Greek marble mined to build the Parthenon — is to replace St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which stood on Cedar Street until the 2001 terror attacks.
After years of negotiations, the church struck a land-swap deal with the Port Authority to rebuild on Liberty Street.
The new shrine was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. His Web site says the house of worship, which will emit a glow at night, will be the only religious structure at Ground Zero and “a spiritual beacon of hope and rebirth.”
But with the heralded design came runaway costs. When Calatrava created the nearby Oculus transit hub, that project’s price tag also soared — to $4 billion.
What was supposed to be the new face of the Greek Orthodox church in America turned into a national embarrassment.
“The church has zero capabilities to manage a project like the St. Nicholas Shrine,” said Dean Popps, a Virginia lawyer and former leader of a church reform movement. “Let’s just say these guys aren’t the same Greeks who built the Parthenon.”