Iona: Nun Embezzled $800,000 From College

New Ro Institution Tight-Lipped, Imposes Media Blackout

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBS 2) — There was embezzlement and embarrassment at a local Catholic college on Wednesday.

The school is reeling from a major theft, apparently at the hands of well-known nun was the school’s vice president of finance, CBS 2’s Lou Young reports.

It was circle the wagons time at Iona in New Rochelle on Wednesday, the private Catholic institution that recently disclosed a large theft by a former top administrator.

Not just any administrator, mind you, but a nun.

The story has the campus on a type of reporter lockout.

They don’t want to talk about Sister Marie Thornton, a.k.a. “Sister Susie” who was fired last year, or why the college didn’t report the theft immediately, or file a criminal complaint. The theft was revealed in a supplemental report to the school’s 2008 tax forms filed this year with the IRS.

When the college’s president Brother James Liguori was informed of the theft, Thornton was fired and another employee alleged to have helped keep the theft under wraps was also fired, as stated in the filing.

In the filing, the school reported that the money came out of the school’s operating budget and through official credit card charges, and the numbers are especially shocking to parents of students footing sizable tuition bills. We’re not talking about petty theft here. This is major stuff. Try $800,000 over a decade.

Late Wednesday Liguori, also a close friend of Thornton, issued a statement saying, “The college complied with regulatory reporting requirements,” that “the college recovered a major amount of its loss” and that “we do not discuss specific details of personnel matters.”

It is unclear where Sister Thornton was Wednesday. Attempts to reach her were unsuccessful.

So the college recovered some of the $800,000 but won’t say how much or what they think the stolen money was used for.

A spokesman for the Westchester district attorney said the office has received no complaint about the theft and until it does there will be no criminal case.

Sister Thornton’s order — the Sisters of St. Joseph — issued a brief statement Wednesday saying they hope for a “just resolution” of the matter.

More from Lou Young
  • D. Vanderah

    The poverty vow is irrelevant. The principle is that women and men religious contribute their earning to, guess what, their communities;;Salaries as everywhere are based on education and skills (yes, I know). But it is true. A job is paid commensurate with experience, etc. whether one is a priest, brother, nun, etc. etc.
    . Having said that, BIG money is a BIG temptation. But sarcasm about “poverty” simply does not apply. Cheap shot. She may have done wrong, but a poverty vow
    does not prevent one from taking a professional job whose salary is commensurate with a “lay” the same job. The days of contributed labor by religious are long over.

  • edwords

    Where is that divine guidance we hear so much about?

  • Vincent Hearne

    $CBIS stock looking ready to break out with the legalization of marijuana pending via prop 19 out of California. Special dividend to be given out to shareholders
    of record, stock way undervalued.

  • Vincent Hearne

    I guess the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience do not apply to the NBA.

  • Vincent Hearne

    I thought is was strange when a nun screamed “GIVE ME 10,000 x’s KNICKS IF da OVER 10,000x’s and let it ride on my 8 team teaser if it hits!!!!!!!

  • Dan

    Curtis Walker and Sherilyn Richardson are comamagers of a group home in NYC called Bernard Fineson Residence. Every week, Ms. Richardson, who is responsible for the consumer’s bank deposits, regularly siphons off some funds for herself and Mr. Walker. This game is played regularly within these group homes and residences. Too bad the politicians are too busy with their own misdeeds to do anything about it.

  • Ray

    @offendedbigtime: Talk to the civil authorities about that. It is the responsibility of the City/County/State/Federal Prosecutor to file charges and drag people to court. Not the Church’s.

  • offendedbigtime

    why is it that the catholics can’t be taken to court over theft and sexual molestations?????? they seem to always wiggle out of it somehow or other! so NOT right!!!!!!!!!! have lost respect for them big time!!!!!!!!

  • beenthereandseenit

    I worked at Iona College–as their PR person–in the late 90’s, Sister Susie was making low 6 figures, and Brother Liguroi was making $242,000. Nonetheless, everyone else on staff was below market rate. I had to find another job because of the low pay.

    Sister and Brother were a tag team of intimidation. The Board of Trustees should demand the resignation of Brother James A. Liguroi. He has no credibility.

    • Vincent Hearne

      AMEN BROTHER! 6 FIGURES for these crooks
      and you busted your azz for peanuts!!

  • Ray

    Looking at their website, no where does it say the Sisters of St Joseph take a vow of poverty. Not every order does after all, only certain ones.

    • AL

      Only Diocesan Priest do not take the vow of Poverty. I can’t think of any order that does not take this vow. If you know of one please shareit here.

  • Former Vice President Nun at Catholic College Accused of Stealing $800K « Campus Notes

    […] New York is reporting that Sister Marie Thornton, Catholic Iona College’s former vice president for finance, may […]

  • excommunicated

    Totally agree with you KPMc. Why is it that everytime there is a scandal at a Catholic institution it is always followed by a huge cover up, the legal authorities are not contacted and the accused goes into complete seclusion. Hey Sister Susie, or whatever your name is…have not ever heard of the commandment “thou shall not steal???” Gimmie a break Catholics. Practice what you preach once in a while, will ya…

  • Roy

    I guess stealing just became a bad “habit”…………………..



    • KPMc

      Feeling a pinch and stealing $800k are two entirely different things.

      • J. Cassara

        Brother Liguori tried to intimidate the owner of a vacant lot across the street from Iona College to donate the property to the college by saying that a gasoline leak from the property leaked diagonally across the street to Iona property contaminating it.

        He started a lawsuit against the owner, and when it came time to present proof in court about the alleged contamination, the college dropped the suit because there was no proof since the contamination never happened. I’ve hated the Iona College administration ever since.

        The theft of $800,000. only proves how deep their deception goes, and it’s unvelievable that for ten years their accountants didn’t notice it. That means that more people were involved in this than is known, and how convenient that Brother Liguori is nearing the end of his term next year. There should be an investigation, and charges should be pressed against all those responsible.

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