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Letter: An Open Letter To Rev. Vincent Cooke

As the Assistant for Strategic Planning, Society of Jesus, New York Province, you have not as yet responded to my phone call and message to the Provision main number.

Many, including myself, recognize the inherent legal right of the Jesuits to “cash in” on their assets and had viewed the sale as “nothing we can do about it” because no one was able to match the $35-37 million sale to the mainland China development group now in contract...until NOW.

The latest new proposal has been made to the Jesuits—written directly to Fr. Cooke, not only matching the contract sale price but also willing to add the cost of termination of the current sale contract. Real estate purchase contracts in this dollar range always include “out clauses” or predicated on the purchaser receiving the municipality’s approval for the proposed development. The alternative written proposal clearly asked Fr. Cooke or his representatives to meet with them. Instead this Catholic organization invoked a veil of secrecy. Fr. Cooke apparently will only answer phone calls and email from Newsday. The Jesuit NYC provincial office silence is deafening and disheartening, and their reply that “no alternative offer has been made” is simply playing semantics. While clearly the Jesuits have shown NO interest in saving the mansion they were given, nor the social service the facility now provides, I pray there is an epiphany. Now that an alternative purchase that keeps this historical Brady mansion and its spiritual based programs, I anticipate this community will escalate every possible effort to get the Jesuits to meet and discuss the alternative offer. It is written on each dollar the Jesuits receive that “In God We Trust,” and many of us now pray that God is providing divine intervention on the Jesuit NYC Provincials to do the right thing—cash in on their asset while preserving a historical site and providing spiritual based social and wellness services.

We recently accomplished with the Christ Episcopal Church in Manhasset to not only preserve local history but the social/spiritual services their Parish House facility provides. The same is achievable for Inisfada but discussion and communication is of the essence to make it happen. I do look forward to assisting in that goal.

Richard Bentley, President

Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Associations, Inc.