“St. John Armenian Church/Western Diocese Vs. Petros Taglyan?”
BY APPO JABARIAN EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER/MANAGING EDITOR USA ARMENIAN LIFE MAGAZINE
In 2003, Arch. Derderian’s ally and Pastor Manuk Markarian of St. Garabed Armenian Church in Hollywood appealed to Petros Taglyan to help the church build an adjacent hall. In good faith, Mr. Taglyan purchased the adjacent parcel of land and donated it to the church so construction could start. In appreciation of Mr. Taglyan’s generous donation the church leaders decided to name the hall “Taglyan Complex.” It was later discovered that the Derderian-Markarian duo were unable to raise the needed funds to build the hall thus they once again approached Mr. Taglyan asking for $15 million construction loan. During preceding decades Mr. Taglyan had already donated nearly $1.5 million to various projects for the Western Diocese. Yet he agreed to loaning the money. The following term was agreed upon for the loan repayment plan: 1) Mr. Taglyan would manage the complex to ensure a steady flow of money; 2) The Taglyan construction loan would be paid back slowly from income generated from successful operation of the hall; 3) Once the loan was paid off, Mr. Taglyan would surrender the hall facility back to the church and the Church would reap the benefits for perpetuity. As planned under the management of Mr. Taglyan there was a steady stream of income paying down the loan. Suddenly under the auspices of Arch. Derderian they unilaterally decided to remove Mr. Taglyan altogether in order to collect the income dismissing the pay down agreement of the loan. They ended up in court. In early 2019, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Randolph M. Hammock heard the case. During the court proceedings, Judge Hammock, directly asked Harout Markarian, Executive Director of the Western Diocese: “What would the church do if a priest was caught lying?” Harout Markarian answered: “He would be immediately fired and defrocked.” While Harout Markarian was making such a pronouncement he should have been well aware of the fact that his own father Pastor Manuk Markarian was going to get caught red-handed by Judge Hammock for making gross misrepresentations to the court under oath. Pastor Manuk was called as a witness for cross-examination. After answering several questions, Judge Hammock stated that he doesn’t find Pastor Manuk a creditable witness and that he “frankly didn’t believe” Pastor Manuk “at all,” saying that Pastor Manuk “was just covering himself and his butt.” In conclusion, Judge Hammock issued a verdict in favor of Mr. Taglyan and ordered Western Diocese/St. John Armenian Church Parish Council to pay the legal fees incurred by both parties. Soonafter the court decision an incoherent press release was posted on the Western Diocese website dated March 11, 2019. I immediately contacted the Western Diocese by email and US Mail for a concise explanation of the hearing. To this day my emails remain unanswered. (See page 3 for copy of letter) As an investigative reporter I have concluded that it is clear that Arch. Hovnan Derderian was indirectly involved in trying to railroad a benefactor out of his money. Pastor Manuk and his son, parish council member Harout Markarian are part of “The Derderian Triumvirate.” It appears that a true conflict of interest and nepotism exists between Pastor Manuk and his sons. Manuk is the pastor of the now demolished St. John Armenian Church in Hollywood in addition to being a member of the Diocesan Council while his son Harout Markarian is Executive Director of Western Diocese in addition to being a controlling member of St. John Armenian Church Parish Council. His older brother Gevork Markarian is a member of St. John Armenian Church Parish Council. Parishioners suspect that they are running their own family business through St. John Armenian Church. As the chairman of the Diocesan Council Joseph Kanimian, Esq. has a fiduciary duty to ensure proper management of the Diocesan affairs. It is his duty to ensure the appointment of qualified individuals to serve as Arch. Derderian’ s right hand man and official spokesperson of the Western Diocese rather than Pastor Manuk Markarian who was called into court to testify for the diocese. How did Diocesan chairman allow this situation to get out of hand at St. John Armenian Church in Hollywood?