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Colorado priest accused of raiding fund for widowed teacher's children, mismanaging millions

The Papal Conclave Day One
Posted at 9:50 PM, Feb 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-18 18:45:40-05

DENVER -- A priest who once ran a Catholic school in Denver is now at the center of a lawsuit, which claims he is responsible for mismanaging more than $2 million in school funds.

That figure includes $250,000 which was stored in a fund to help a teacher at the school pay for the education of her four children after their father suddenly passed away from cancer.

The lawsuit, first obtained by Denver7, states Father Andrew Kemberling caused St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Parish and School "to accrue over 2 million dollars in losses."

The lawsuit states Kemberling frittered away $2.2 million worth of assets within two years.

The lawsuit goes on to say that Kemberling tried to cover those losses by raiding restricted funds. In one specific example highlighted in the lawsuit, Kemberling is accused of using nearly $100,000 from a Teachers' Endowment Fund so that the school could make payroll.

In another example, Kemberling is accused of draining an account set up to pay educational expenses for the four children of a teacher at the school who lost her husband to cancer in 2011.

One of the plaintiffs, David Wolf, claims to have put $223,000 in that account.

Kemberling allegedly spent all but $12,500.

The Archdiocese of Denver, which is also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, said in a statement Tuesday they're working with the current pastor "by means of an independent forensic audit" to better understand the situation at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Parish and School, but added the allegations are misleading.

"While we understand that parishioners have had concerns that need to be addressed, we find the allegations in the lawsuit to be overstated and misleading. We are confident that the results of the independent audit will reveal the truth," the Archdiocese said in the statement. "Based on all of the information provided by the parish and available to the Archdiocese, we also have no reason to believe that the former pastor, Fr. Kemberling, who is accused of mismanagement in the lawsuit, took any money for personal gain."

Father Kemberling has not returned our requests for comment. The Archdiocese of Denver web site says he currently lives at the rectory at St. Frances Cabrini in Littleton.