Archdiocese fires top financial officer amid probe

Anita Guzzardi (Source: 2002-03 Pastoral and Financial Report to the Faithful)
Anita Guzzardi (Source: 2002-03 Pastoral and Financial Report to the Faithful)
Posted: July 22, 2011

The top financial officer of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been fired while authorities investigate how hundreds of thousands of dollars in church funds went missing.

Anita Guzzardi, recently appointed the archdiocese's chief financial officer, was escorted from the church offices on July 14, a day after the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office informed church officials about their investigation, according to church spokeswoman Donna Farrell.

Farrell said the church has hired attorney Henry E. Hockeimer of the firm of Ballard Spahr and the accounting firm of Parente Beard to conduct an internal investigation. Guzzardi was fired on Friday as a result of their preliminary findings.

"We have been cooperating fully with the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office and will continue to do so," Farrell's statement said.

The exact amount of missing funds is still under investigation, but sources said the amount is several hundred thousand dollars.

Guzzardi, of Haddon Heights, could not be reached for comment.

Recently named to the top financial post, Guzzardi has worked for the archdiocese for over a decade.

She once served as "renewal coordinator," helping estranged Catholics reconcile with the church before moving to the archdiocese accounting office.

As controller, part of her job was reviewing parish finances.

When one Montgomery County parish had an $178,000 operating loss last year, she wrote a letter urging the pastor to find ways to make up the difference and focus on returning to "financial stability and policy integrity."


Contact staff writer Joseph Tanfani at 215-854-2684 or jtanfani@phillynews.com.

Inquirer staff writers Craig R. McCoy and Nancy Phillips contributed to this article.

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