Approved archdiocese expenses in bankruptcy now top $5 million

The judge overseeing the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on Thursday approved the payment of about $3.3 million in legal and professional fees.

The payments cover services provided from June through October. Court records indicate the church's total bill for its bankruptcy and related litigation since the bankruptcy filing in January now exceeds $5.1 million.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda released a statement after the court hearing.

"In the end, we hope the spirit of cooperation and good will among all parties — including the U.S. Bankruptcy Court — will help us reach the ultimate goal of a fair resolution of the claims as quickly as possible," he said. "We believe that the legal expenses that have been incurred and approved by the court are a necessary part of achieving that objective."

Judge Robert Kressel said he's starting to get nervous about the speed and cost of the bankruptcy. The archdiocese is in mediation with abuse victims and insurers, hoping to reach a settlement.

Attorneys said insurance coverage for the archdiocese and its parishes is critical to any resolution. "It's all about insurance," one lawyer said.

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