Religious Rip-Offs?

News: US News
by Church Militant  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  December 3, 2021   

Mike Parrott and 'Br.' Martin Navarro team up

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UPDATE, 12/4/2021: In response to this article, Parrott appears to have admitted to the scheme.


WESTON, MO (ChurchMilitant.com) - A fundraiser launched for one "Brother Martin Navarro" has raised more than $175,000, but serious questions linger as to exactly where that money is going, how it is being spent and whether someone else — namely Mike Parrott of Restoring the Faith Media — stands to benefit.

New Monastery = Mike Parrott's Cottage?

Compelling evidence reveals Navarro, who describes himself as an "Augustinian monk" and who launched a fundraiser in May with the help of Parrott to purchase a new "monastery," may actually be using those funds to help pay for the purchase of Parrott's three homes.

Parrott is currently being sued by Church Militant for defamation after he falsely accused this media outlet of committing crimes we never comitted. Parrott also has troubling ties with a pro-Hitler, pro-fascist, anti-Jew, anti-Black character named Trad Patrick.

Navarro, who appears to be Parrott's "sidekick" and is often featured on Parrott's YouTube channel, insists he has yet to spend the donations. But it appears he may have entered into an agreement to give his donations to Parrott in exchange for living in one of the homes on Parrott's property in Missouri, calling that his new "monastery."

This coincides with the time frame during which Parrott purchased his $650,000 Missouri property.

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Aug. 28, 2021 episode of "The Rundown" shows Navarro (bottom left) in his old room in St. Petersburg, Florida. The background shows an empty bookshelf and boxes as he prepares to move out.


Navarro moved from Florida to Missouri in late August/early September, as clearly evidenced in video footage from episodes of "The Rundown," a weekly show hosted by Parrott featuring Navarro, among others.

An Aug. 28, 2021 episode shows Navarro in his old room with an empty bookshelf and packed boxes, readying to move out of his St. Petersburg, Florida location.

Two weeks later, Navarro is seen in a new location: the second house on Parrott's Missouri property. 

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September 2021 live stream of "The Rundown" (L) shows Navarro's new monastery is in fact Mike Parrott's cottage; the same fireplace and room are shown in photos (R) on a real estate site featuring Parrott's property.


On Aug. 17, Mike Parrott closed on his new property in Missouri, which he bought for $650,000. That property holds a main house, where Parrott lives, as well as a two-story cottage some yards away.

Parrott owns a third house next door, valued at approximately $170,000.

While Parrott portrays himself as just a dad "with a webcam, six kids and a mortgage" living in a one-bathroom house with "a leaky roof," he omits the fact that he actually owns three homes. Presumably it is easier to solicit donations by maintaining the façade that one is poor and downtrodden.

It's easier to solicit donations by maintaining the façade that one is poor and downtrodden.

Images from a real estate site reveal the location from which Navarro is live streaming — and which he names "Our Lady of Consolation Monastery" — is the same as Parrott's cottage. (To protect Parrott's privacy, we will not reveal his address.)

Church Militant asked Navarro if he used his fundraising money to purchase a house on Parrott's property. He responded without directly answering the question: "I haven't purchased property yet." 

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In this Sept. 10, 2021 episode of "The Rundown," Navarro is shown in the bottom-left corner in Parrott's cottage, which is now named "Our Lady of Consolation Monastery."


This appears to contradict his words from an Aug. 1, 2021 interview, where he said he was "in the process of purchasing a house."

When Church Militant asked where he is in that process now that it is December, Navarro refused to answer.

Elsewhere, he says his new monastery is undergoing "renovations" and that he will be moved into his new place soon. 

A follow-up query asking how he is paying for his renovations, if he in fact has not spent his donations, went unanswered. Neither has he said where his new "place" is.


In a November episode of Restoring the Faith, Parrott asks Navarro, "Have you given me any of the money that you raised with your fundraiser?"

"Not a single penny," Navarro says. "Not a single penny." 

The answer, however, is deceptive if in fact the two had entered into an agreement to pay Parrott in the future for the Missouri house. If there is an agreement, verbal or written, that Navarro would eventually pay Parrott, this response would be an attempt to cover their tracks by offering something technically true at the time, but which would not be true as soon as Navarro starts disbursing funds.

It is deeply deceptive — particularly egregious coming from two Catholics, one who passes himself off as a consecrated religious.

It's telling that Navarro refused to answer these questions when they were submitted to him:

  • Did you enter into any sort of agreement to either purchase or rent the property on Mike Parrott's land?
  • Do you plan in the future to disburse any of the $170,000 raised to Mike Parrott, directly or indirectly?

Navarro has a legal and moral obligation to be transparent about how donations to his Catholic nonprofit are being used. 

Such a scheme is arguably illegal.

Without clear answers, questions linger, namely: Was Navarro's fundraising venture a scheme by which Parrott sought to benefit himself by raising sufficient money to purchase his new homes in Missouri? 

Such a scheme is arguably illegal, as it raises money under false pretenses while omitting the fact that it would financially enrich a private party, namely, Parrott.

Navarro and Parrott could easily dispel suspicions by simply answering the questions.

Navarro Fundraiser: Background

In a May 2021 video titled "One Easy Way to Help Save the Church," Navarro explains that he is one of the founders of the Oblates of St. Augustine, which describes itself as "a community of Traditional Roman Catholic men, faithful to the Traditional Roman Rite, the Holy Rule of St. Augustine and the traditional formulations of the Catholic religion."

He claims his community has "quickly outgrown its size" and is in need of money to "purchase a property adequate for traditional Catholic monasteries to grow and thrive."

He goes on to talk about "consecrated souls in the life of the Church" and the "diminished numbers of religious," giving the impression that he is one such soul, before imploring viewers to donate to his campaign to found a monastery in line with the rule of St. Augustine.

Footage is shown of only one other apparent member of the community, Fr. John Stone Melnick, seen offering the Traditional Latin Mass while Navarro serves.

Throughout the video Navarro is wearing what appears to be a priestly cassock. Elsewhere, Navarro can at times be seen wearing a biretta or a saturno, headwear typically associated with ordained clergy.

Donations poured in, resulting in more than $175,000 so far.

Not a Priest, Not a Monk

In spite of outward appearances, Navarro is not a priest; neither is he a monk. While he had previously professed temporary vows with the Society of St. Augustine (SSA) in Kansas City, Kansas, his vows expired in 2020 and his order decided not to renew them, leading to Navarro's departure.

This was confirmed by the vicar general of the Kansas City archdiocese, Fr. John Riley, in an email to Church Militant. While Navarro left in good standing, "it was the prudential judgment of the order's trustee not to renew the vows."

Father Riley went on to explain that Navarro "self-identifies as an Augustinian monk though he is not in vows with any legitimate Augustinian community in the church in the United States."

He is not in vows with any legitimate Augustinian community.

In a more recent video, Navarro claimed he left the SSA because it was going to be "suppressed" and that he was attracting too many "traditional vocations." These claims were refuted by the archdiocese: 

The Society of St. Augustine has not been suppressed in the archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. Prior to the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes, there were no plans whatsoever to restrict the Traditional Latin Mass. In fact, in the archdiocese we continue to be blessed with two longstanding communities served by priests of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. In 2020, one of the communities was elevated to a parish from a chaplaincy, due to its growth and stability. 

The chancellor of the St. Petersburg, Florida diocese also confirmed the Oblates possess no faculties to minister and have no official standing:

The Oblates of St. Augustine, residing within the boundaries of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, do not possess the faculties for ministry in this diocese, nor are they an entity of our diocese.  It was reported that they have broken off from a Public Association of the Faithful, known as the Society of St. Augustine, in the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas. My current understanding is that they have more recently associated with the Old Roman Catholic Church.  

Public records reveal the Oblates' headquarters share the same address as the Old Roman Catholic Church of the See of Caer-Glow, a schismatic group that finds its roots in the illicit 1739 consecration of Peter John Meindaerts to the see of Utrecht in Holland.

Navarro omitted this information from his fundraising video. Disclosing it likely would have raised eyebrows among potential donors.

Nothing on the website of the Oblates nor in Navarro's fundraiser indicates it is anything other than a formally approved religious order, aside from a throwaway line at the bottom of the homepage: "The Oblates of St. Augustine are a 'de facto' association with respect to the Code of Canon Law (cf. 209, 215, 299, and 310)."

Considering the vast majority of Catholic laity do not know what a "de facto" association is nor would they take the time to look up the canons cited, the sentence buried at the bottom of the site does little to clarify the actual status of Navarro's community.

Canon 299 makes clear a "de facto" association is simply a "private association" formulated "by means of a private agreement" among members to pursue a common purpose. 

It differs from a public association, which is erected according to competent Church authority. According to §3, "No private association of the Christian faithful is recognized in the Church unless competent authority reviews its statutes."

Navarro has made clear the Oblates are his own initiative and have received no formal approval or recognition by any bishop. They number among any number of private associations, including lay activist groups or other lay apostolates, which can be started up by anyone. Navarro is no more a "brother" than any Catholic layman.

His community can be compared to Most Holy Family Monastery, a rogue traditionalist group comprised of siblings Michael and Peter Dimond, who call themselves "Brother Michael" and "Brother Peter," with a following of 115,000 on YouTube. These self-professed "monks" also operate as a "de facto" association with no formal recognition in any diocese, and use their blog to promote conspiracy theories against the "Vatican II sect."

A One-Member Community With No Priest

Church Militant asked Navarro how many members are in his community. After repeatedly refusing to answer the question, Navarro eventually admitted his community only has one member: himself. Elsewhere he clarified that several men are discerning whether to join.

It also appears that Fr. Melnick, the priest featured in the fundraising video, is no longer with Navarro. Father Melnick confirmed directly with Church Militant that he moved out of Florida and has not lived with Navarro for approximately six months.

Thus Navarro's current community appears to be without a priest, calling into question his fundraiser's claims to found a community focused exclusively on offering the traditional liturgy — a claim on which donors relied in good faith to give money.

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Navarro continues to solicit donations for a priest who has not been in his care for many months.

Worse, Navarro continues to solicit donations for Fr. Melnick, even though he is no longer there. On the Oblates' "Giving" page, it states: "A gift of $500 per month helps to cover medical expenses for a retired, medically disabled priest in our care."

The reference is to Fr. Melnick, who is disabled and suffering from health problems, who as noted above claims not to have lived with Navarro for at least six months. It is unclear how many donors during this time have relied on this false statement to donate to help this priest.

Irregularities

On his filed paperwork with the state of Florida, Navarro lists himself as president, director, secretary and treasurer of his nonprofit — essentially a one-man operation, with cash assets of $175,000 in donations.

Other irregularities abound.

Even though Navarro moved out of Florida to Missouri in late August/early September, his corporation's annual report, dated Sept. 21, 2021, lists his principal place of business as St. Petersburg, Florida — a falsehood.

A search of IRS tax-exempt organizations returns no results for the Oblates of St. Augustine, indicating this is not a federal 501(c)3 and therefore donations may not be tax deductible. It is unclear why Navarro would not file as a 501(c)3.

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Oblates' bylaws require "no fewer than three" directors, "at least one of whom will be a resident of the State of Florida."

Even more, the bylaws require a minimum of three directors. They also require at least one of them to reside in Florida. While the initial directors listed were Navarro, Fr. Melnick and Prof. Joseph Multhaus of Donnelly College, Kansas, this is no longer the case. 

Navarro lists himself as president, director, secretary and treasurer — essentially a one-man operation.

Not only has Fr. Melnick not lived in Florida for at least six months, he also confirmed with Church Militant he has not been a director for some time. Thus the Oblates appear to be out of compliance with their own bylaws.

Most troubling, Navarro refuses to answer questions as to exactly what he is doing with his donations. The bylaws clearly state that no income "may inure to the benefit" of any of its officers or other private persons. Navarro has a moral and legal duty to spend donations in furtherance of the mission of the Oblates, and not for personal use or for the personal benefit of any other person.

On another note, Navarro's frequent use of social media leaves the public to wonder what he is doing with his time. While Navarro claims the Oblates are a monastic community living by the rule of St. Augustine, dedicated to prayer and working to spread the Kingdom of God, he appears to spend his days on Twitter engaged in frivolous tweets unrelated to matters of faith — once again calling into question whether donor money is going toward a good cause.

Parrott's Questionable Fundraisers

Parrott is linked to other questionable fundraisers, including one for a traditionalist priest Fr. James Jackson, FSSP, arrested for child porn, which garnered $150,000.

While Parrott claimed 50% of donations would go toward "forensic analysis" of the evidence — which the public understands to mean the computer and external hard drive on which the porn was found — Church Militant noted it would be impossible for Parrott to access that evidence, as court procedure would disallow the federal prosecutor from handing over the evidence used in the criminal trial to an outside nonparty unconnected to the case, with no particular expertise in computer forensics.

Instead of answering Church Militant's queries, Parrott deflected by fabricating a claim that Wisconsin priest Fr. James Altman was deceptively funneling money to Church Militant through external organizations. Father Altman publicly disavowed the claim, and Parrott eventually admitted it was fabricated.

Parrott also admitted the "evidence" on which he would conduct the forensic analysis was not the Rhode Island computer and hard drive on which the porn was found, but rather the computer from the priest's prior church in Colorado. There is no evidence, however, that Parrott has ever obtained the Colorado computer.

It is also likely the Department of Homeland Security — which was involved in the two-month sting leading up to Jackson's arrest — is also looking into Jackson's movements in Colorado, including his computer use. Thus any attempt on Parrott's part to obtain that computer would be considered obstruction of justice.


Parrott launched a fundraiser in May soliciting donations to help him "sue" the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops over the COVID vaccine.

"If you want to contribute to this effort ... don't send it through Patreon," Parrott said. "Let's talk individually, because we have a separate LLC that's going to be the entity through which we launch this campaign."

Seven months have passed, that fundraiser seems to have gone nowhere, no lawsuit has been filed and it's unclear what has happened to any donations.

Church Militant asked Parrott for screenshots proving how much he received for the USCCB fundraiser. He responded by claiming he had received no money, agreeing to provide screenshots as proof, but "not on a Sunday."

Rather than receive the promised screenshots, Church Militant received a threatening letter from Parrott's attorney ordering us not to ask him anymore questions or to publish anything about him, in a clear attempt to censor our reporting.


Parrott is also associated with a controversial podcaster who goes by the alias "Trad Patrick," an open fascist who has praised murderous dictator Mussolini, and who ran a Telegram chat group — where Parrott seems to have been an administrator with the nickname "Gamer Jew" — that regularly posted pro-Hitler, pro-fascist, anti-Jewish, anti-Black content. Trad Patrick regularly called Blacks "n*ggers."

Not only did Parrott refer to Trad Patrick as his "most regular guest," Trad Patrick hosted a weekly podcast with Parrott.

To this day, Parrott has not disavowed Trad Patrick or any of the abhorrent epithets and slurs he has called minorities, nor his praise of Hitler, Mussolini or fascism.

The controversial fundraisers that both Navarro and Parrott have launched, which together have raised $350,000 in the last six months, coupled with Navarro's cryptic refusal to answer questions about donations, and numerous irregularities with his nonprofit, raise serious questions about the legitimacy of the Oblates, Navarro's use of Catholic money given in good faith and Parrott's role in all of this.

 

 

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