Michael Jude Fay is a priest who resigned from a church in an affluent Connecticut community, as he misspent up to $1.4 million in parishioner donations to lead a life of luxury with another man. He lavished that money on himself and his gay partner.
It has also been reported that Fay owned a condominium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with Clifford Fantini of Philadelphia, also known as Cliff Martell, his male lover. Clifford has been variously described as a fashion show director and a wedding planner. Some parishioners are adamant that Fay and Fantini/Martell were lovers and that the wedding planner often stayed at the rectory for long periods.
Bridgeport Bishop William Lori, who ordered the investigation by Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, said he was shocked and angered by the findings. The report also was sent to federal authorities.
"The amount of money that was misused is tremendous," Lori said. "I think this report and other things we found out shows a real betrayal of trust and abuse of power."
Fay resigned in May from St. John Roman Catholic Church amid accusations by a private investigator that he had misspent church money.
Fay, pastor since 1991, told church officials that the money was used to help needy parishioners and for other legitimate church-related expenses. The report acknowledges some of the money may have been used for legitimate expenses, but said Fay failed to document his claims.
Fay also said he received money from parishioners, his family and the other man, Cliff Fantini. Fantini has described himself as a "very good friend," but denied that he and Fay were involved in a relationship.