Both men are charged with grand theft. Skehan, St. Vincent's pastor for 40 years, has been released on $40,000 bond; authorities are negotiating Guinan's return to Florida after he completes a vacation to Australia.
After learning of the charges, a group of St. Patrick parishioners gave The Post more than 100 pages of their correspondence with Guinan and diocesan officials, along with meeting notes and financial documents. They said they broke their long-standing decision not to go public and offered the materials in an effort to show that diocesan officials knew of their suspicions about Guinan, but still chose him in 2003 to run St. Vincent Ferrer, one of the most prominent churches in the five-county diocese.
After Symons rejected their claims, the unhappy parishioners wrote to the Apostolic Nunciature, the diplomatic arm of the Vatican, and the Internal Revenue Service, but heard of no investigation by either. After 1995, they stopped writing letters to the diocese. They never contacted secular authorities.
As I said previously - after a decade or two, we eventually stop writing letters and they think they are getting away with it. When the day is done, it's all there in black and white.
On Saturday, two days after the scandal broke, St. Patrick's current pastor, the Rev. Brian Flanagan, said parish finances were "a mess" when he replaced Guinan. He said he installed financial controls and promised his congregation a written report. Asked to comment for this story, Flanagan referred a reporter to the diocese. A spokeswoman declined to comment on any events during the past five years, which she said are under investigation.
From the correspondence, Guinan emerges as an autocrat who ridiculed his critics and banned them from the parish.
Some parishioners found Guinan's behavior bizarre and inappropriate, with his focus increasingly on money. Guinan suggested in a pastoral letter that parishioners could "dedicate" the sanctuary light to a loved one for $10 a week. Parishioners objected to his conducting a building fund meeting on Good Friday, one of the most sacred days of the Catholic year, and going to a racetrack instead of distributing ashes on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
When parishioners brought him their concerns, he dismissed them as "cranks."