East Boston property flip called ‘an anomaly’

BRIGHTON -- The Archdiocese of Boston is reviewing the sale of former St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish property in East Boston that was resold weeks later at a nearly $2 million profit, according to Terrence Donilon, spokesman for the archdiocese.

The archdiocese sold the property, which included a church, hall and rectory, to Michael Indresano, a photographer from South Boston, for $850,000 on Nov. 16. Indresano, through a corporation called MEE Development, run by his business manager Shannyn Heyer-Cardin, sold the property for $2.65 million on Dec. 6 to the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, according to records on file at the Suffolk County Registry of Deeds.

“We are going to look at all aspects of the transaction -- what happened and what we can learn from it,” Donilon said.

Donilon said Indresano paid more than the appraised value of the property and the photographer told the archdiocese that he intended to use the property as a photography studio, residential housing and a parking lot.

“We didn’t know that he had already cut a deal with the Universal Church,” said Donilon. “We had no previous relationship with Indresano, and we have no relationship with the Universal Church.”

Before selling properties closed in reconfiguration, the archdiocese announced a process that would be followed when marketing those properties. Offers would be solicited over a 90-day period and evaluated based on many factors including financial terms, contingencies, proposed property use and social considerations connected with the offers. The archdiocese also said that it sought to maximize the financial consideration consistent with the needs of the communities served.

The archdiocese began soliciting offers for the first group of properties, including St. Mary’s, in November 2004, said Donilon.

The original offering of St. Mary’s included the church, rectory, parish hall and convent. After the 90-day marketing period, the initial offers were reviewed and deemed unacceptable based on the appraisal of the property, which, at the time, placed the value significantly higher than bids, he said.

The archdiocese began to market the property again but removed the convent property from the package because St. Mary Star of the Sea School was in need of an additional building, he added.

“We later requested a second appraisal of the revised property offering, which came in significantly lower than the first -- taking into account the removal of the convent, the serious and continued deterioration of the property over time, and improvements necessary to assure the structural integrity ofthe buildings,” Donilon said.

After the second appraisal, Indresano was the only party to make an offer, he added. A purchase and sales agreement was executed in February 2006 and the sale was finalized on Nov. 16. Indresano’s offer was more than the appraised value, he added.

The archdiocese has marketed and sold over 50 properties in recent years and never encountered a situation like this before, he said.

“This is the first one that we know of that has had this kind of outcome,” said Donilon. “We believe the marketing process of these properties works. This is an anomaly.”