Judge rejects Western Diocese Arch. Derderian’s, Pastor Manouk Markaryan’s request and orders payment of all court costs incurred by Dr. Taglyan’s

Posted on October. 26. 2019


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On Wednesday October 23, 2019, Western Diocese’s Arch. Hovnan Derderian and Pastor Manouk Markaryan were back in court to ask Superior Court Judge Randolph M. Hammock to award a reduction of payment to Dr. Petros Taglyan for the latter’s court costs. The Judge heard the case (no. 18STCV02144) and issued a verdict reconfirming the outcome of a court proceeding that took place earlier in the year: Arch. Derderian’s Western Diocese must pay all court costs incurred by Dr. Petros Taglyan.
This newest Court order stated that “considering all relevant factors, the Court finds that the total amount of reasonable attorney’s fees which were incurred by the Defendants in ‘proving’ the existence of the written lease(s) agreements at issue” and that the legal costs incurred by Defendants (Taglyan) during the trial; Pre-trial (including discovery); Total attorney’s fees; “the costs for Defendants’ handwriting expert is also awarded as reasonably incurred in proving the existence of said agreement(s).”
The verdict continued: “Accordingly, Defendants will be awarded the total amount … in attorney’s fees.”
This is a clear legal victory for Dr. Taglyan and another legal defeat for Arch. Derderian’s Western Diocese. This newest court order places another roadblock to Derderian-led Western Diocese’s perverse efforts to railroad an innocent major benefactor – Dr. Taglyan out of millions of dollars.
Dr. Taglyan’s prime objective was to help the church achieve the construction of a multi-million-dollar modern complex without the church spending a single dime and the once loans were repaid, he would hand the complex to St. John Garabed and Western Diocese.
This latest episode adds to the long list of wrongdoings by Derderian as featured in the Aug. 12 Special ACR Report by Armenian Church Reform titled “Twenty-Plus Reasons Why Hovnan Derderian’s Time Has Come to End.”
Earlier in the year, on Jan. 28, in the Court, Judge Hammock had found Arch. Derderian’s representative Pastor Markaryan as a liar. Apparently Markaryan was ‘authorized’ by Arch. Derderian and the Exec. Dir. of the Western Diocese, Pastor Markaryan’s son, Harut Markaryan to deny the agreement with Dr. Taglyan.
How could the autocrats of Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) and the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA-WR), Dr. Vicken Hovsepian and his wife Nora Hovsepian ignore these blatant facts making a unilateral decision to present Arch. Derderian with ANCA-WR’s “Khrimian Hayrig” Award?
With all the controversy surrounding Arch. Derderian Nora Hovsepian, Esq. had a fiduciary duty to ANCA-WR to vet Derderian before deciding to give such an honor. As an attorney, from her office on her computer it is very easy to check public files. In just a few minutes she would have had all the information needed to make a decision on him. Just this year court Case No. 18STCV02144 would have been sufficient to disqualify the proposed recipient. (Read Prof. Z. S. Andrew Demirdjian’s related article, titled “The Kingmakers’ Agenda: The Cost of Lost Credibility,” on page E2)
With the Oct. 23 legal defeat, Derderian may insist that ‘this is a minor setback.’ It is necessary to make clear that the two opposing parties are not business entities or individuals. One is a major benefactor of the Armenian Church – Dr. Taglyan, and the others are Arch. Derderian, a spiritual leader representing the Armenian Church Western Diocese along with his fellow spiritual servant Pastor Markaryan.
Which side is the loser? The Armenian Church Western Diocese! What was the main reason for the legal defeat? Derderian’s main representative Markaryan was caught red-handed as a liar in a U.S. Court. And Markaryan is not a layperson. He is supposed to be a spiritual servant in a church and he officially represents the spiritual leader of the Western Diocese.
How did the Diocese and the Armenian Church end up in such a major scandal? Where do the root causes of this embarrassing situation come from?
In 2003, having received Arch. Derderian’s node, Pastor Markaryan of St. John Garabed Armenian Church Hollywood appealed to Dr. Taglyan for the construction of a hall-complex on an adjacent land next to the Church.
In good faith Dr. Taglyan had used his home equity line of credit to donate $300,000 to the Church for the purchase of the long-term lease on a vacant land so the church could start the construction of the hall.
In appreciation of Dr. Taglyan’s generous donation the church leaders decided to name it the “Taglyan Complex.”
From April 2003 through May 2004, Arch. Hovnan Derderian and Pastor Manuk Markaryan were unable to raise any funds for the construction of the hall.
Again, on September 16, 2004 they approached Dr. Taglyan for another donation (see image #1) saying that the church was in bad financial shape and it was unable to meet the monthly lease payments. The letter was unanswered. (See page E5). They also asked him to secure multimillion-dollar-loans for the construction.
It is understandable why Dr. Taglyan declined. Arch. Derderian’s request for such a major donation went beyond the call of duty for any donor. Up until that moment Dr. Taglyan had already donated $1.5 million for various Diocesan causes.
But Arch. Derderian and his agent Pastor Markaryan were relentless who constantly appealed Dr. Taglyan for help.
Eventually they succeeded in convincing Dr. Taglyan to loan millions of dollars.
On Jan. 16, 2005, Arch Derderian and Western Diocese presented in English a letter using Pastor Manouk Markaryan’s name as the signatory making a new offer and proposing Dr. Taglyan 1) to oversee the construction; 2) to take over the management of Taglyan Complex after completion of construction confirming “that the church will not have the right to intrude in any manner in the financial operations of these facilities;” 3) all of the expenses incurred will be reimbursed to you from the proceeds of the operation of the hall. You will receive an additional 7% interest annually until the complete reimbursement of the funds spent by you “receiving the funds back from the proceeds of Taglyan Complex without any time limitation until the entire loan is paid off (See page E4). In addition to presenting this letter-offer, Arch Derderian and Pastor Manuk used their façade as pious spiritual servants they personally reached out to Dr. Taglyan vying to reach their goal. Back then Arch Derderian and Pastor Manuk projected the image of holy men. Both men were new arrivals in Western U.S. and were highly anxious to show some administrative success so that their popularity-ranking improved. Wherever they went, they used Dr. Taglyan’s good name and reputation.
At that juncture Dr. Taglyan negotiated a series of loans with his bank using his credit history guaranteeing with his signature for a number of loans totaling $15 million. His agreement with Arch Hovnan Derderian and Pastor Manuk Markaryan was that Dr. Taglyan would design a business plan that would control and guarantee the repayment of the loan. Dr. Taglyan offered: Once the loan was paid, he “would surrender the whole complex to the Church” for them to reap the benefits for perpetuity.
His business plan included a catering company. Dr. Taglyan’s plan worked bringing in a healthy income paying down the loan. Everything was going as planned when suddenly under the auspices of Arch. Hovnan Derderian of the Western Diocese he unilaterally felt that they should take control of the Taglyan Complex and the catering company by defrauding him out of millions of dollars.
In early 2019, they ended up in court over this matter. Superior Court Judge Hammock was assigned to this case. He carefully listened to both sides. During the court proceedings, Judge Hammock, directly asked Pastor Manuk’s son Harout Markaryan, Executive Director representing the Western Diocese: “What would the church do if a priest was caught lying?” Harout’s answer: “He would be immediately fired and defrocked.” While Harout Markaryan was making such a pronouncement he should have been well aware of the fact that his own father Pastor Manuk Markaryan 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 didn’t find Pastor Manuk a creditable witness stating, “frankly I don’t believe, Pastor Manuk at all,” and Pastor Manuk “was just covering himself and his butt.” Judge Hammock issued a verdict on April 2, 2019 in favor of Dr. Taglyan and ordered Western Diocese/St. John Armenian Church Parish Council to pay all legal fees incurred.
On March 11, 2019 an incoherent official press release was circulated in various media and posted on the Western Diocese website. In conclusion of the unintelligible press release it stated that, “any individual or organization wishing to obtain clarification or accurate information, may reach out to the Parish Council without any hesitation”.
I immediately contacted the Diocesan Council chairman Joseph Kanimian, Esq. by email and US Mail for a concise explanation of the hearing. To this day my email and USPO signature-required letter remain unanswered. As of this printing (Oct. 25) I have not received a response.
I have concluded that it is clear that Derderian and his agents, Pastor Manuk Markaryan and his son Harout Markaryan were directly involved in trying to railroad Dr. Taglyan out $15 million by undermining his business plan. This unilateral and misguided action by Western Diocese would trigger a foreclosure forcing Dr. Taglyan to come up with another plan to pay off the loan or lose his creditability with the bank. It is now clear that Derderian and his agents are using the Armenian Church and the Western Diocese as their family business
Armenian Church Reform movement supporters have suggested a certified CPA accounting firm like KPMG or Deloitte to audit the dealings by Derderian and Markaryan to dispel any questions and to ensure transparency.
Why did the 2018-2019 Diocesan chairman Joseph Kanimian, Esq. allow the situation get out of hand? How did the remaining members of Diocesan Council allow this to happen?
The current Chairman of the Diocesan Council Adrienne Krikorian, Esq. has a fiduciary duty to ensure proper management of Diocesan affairs. At best she should have known about damaging outcome of legal harassment by Derderian-Markaryanduo against Dr. Taglyan. At the very least she should have ensured the appointment of qualified individuals to serve as Arch. Hovnan Derderian’s right hand man and official spokesperson of the Western Diocese rather than Court-recognized liar Pastor Markaryan to testify in court representing the Diocese. Why didn’t the top two leaders of the Diocesan Council Joseph Kanimian, Esq. and Adrienne Krikorian, Esq. warn Arch. Derderian and Pastor Markaryan they didn’t have a chance in court because of the contract?
What about the statement to the judge under oath of Harout Markaryan “What would the church do if a priest was caught lying?” his answer, “He would be immediately fired and defrocked”? That statement should have been followed through by now. Why is Pastor Markaryan still serving as a priest, spokesman and primate’s right-hand man at the Western Diocese?
Why did the 2018-2019 Diocesan Council members allow for the situation to deteriorate causing so much embarrassment for the diocese? And why the newly-elected 2019-2020 Diocesan Council members under their Chair Ms. Krikorian, are not properly addressing these critical issues?
An increasing number of Diocese supporters are insisting that in order to remedy the situation, Arch. Derderian and his agents Pastor Markaryan and his son Harout Markaryan must resign.
The longer the 2019-2020 Diocesan Council members (listed below) fail in their fiduciary duty, the more people can rightfully claim that The Western Diocese is fast-becoming a banana republic.

Chairman, Dr. Joseph Kanimian, Esq.
Vice-Chair., Adrienne Krikorian, Esq.
Treasurer, Dr. Yuriy Akopyan
Sec., Ms. Sandra Kazanjian Gostanian
Very Rev. Fr. Sasoon Zumrookhdian
Pastor Manuk Markaryan
Rev. Fr. Khajag Shahbazyan
Rev. Fr. Serovpe Alanjian
Very Rev. Fr. Pakrad Berjekian
Dr. Ara Der Sarkissian
Dr. Marty Dakessian, Esq.
Mrs. Pamela Abaci
Dr. Barkev Hamalian
Dr. Rafi Hagopian
Dr. Vahe Skenderian

Chairman – Adrienne Krikorian, Esq.
Vice Chairman – Dr. Derik Ghookasian
Treasurer – Dr. Yuriy Akopyan
Secretary – Ms. Sandra Kazanjian Gostanian
Very Rev. Fr. Sasoon Zumrookhdian
Rev. Fr. Shnork Demirjian
Rev. Fr. Mesrop Ash
Very Rev. Fr. Pakrad Berjekian
Dr. Ara Der Sarkissian
Dr. Marty Dakessian, Esq.
Mrs. Pamela Abaci
Dr. Kris Mirzayan
Dr. Rafi Hagopian
Dr. Vahe Skenderian

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