€500,000 donor threatens religious community with legal action over missing plaque

An agreement between a religious benefactor and an Archconfraternity in Rabat promised the donor a commemorative plaque in honour of himself and his wife

According to a religious benefactor, a St Joseph fraternity did not keep its promise to honour him with a plaque
According to a religious benefactor, a St Joseph fraternity did not keep its promise to honour him with a plaque

A disagreement over a commemorative plaque has soured a relationship between a religious benefactor and an Archconfraternity to which he donated €500,000 and ended up in court.

In a judicial letter filed in the First Hall of the Civil Court by Chevalier Joseph M. Vassallo to Anthony Casha as rector of the Archconfraternity of St. Joseph in Rabat, the Chevalier claims that a 2009 private agreement between the two parties acknowledged “substantial donations” amounting to some €500,000 he had made. The agreement had expressly stated that a commemorative plaque in honour of Vassallo and his wife would be placed “prominently and in perpetuity” in the oratory of the Archconfraternity at the church in Rabat.

But 10 years after signing it, the agreement was still not enrolled at the Public Registry, despite the Rector of the Archconfraternity having undertaken to do so. Without this step, the agreement would not be traceable, argued Vassallo.

In the absence of any denial or statement to the contrary, the Chevalier took this to mean that the beneficiary did not intend to honour its contractual obligations. He was also informed that the reason the agreement had not been enrolled was because the Archconfraternity allegedly planned to remove the plaque after Vassallo’s death.

As this information was never rebutted publicly and no written assurances to the contrary were given, the benefactor said that he had suffered “anxiety and emotional suffering.”

The plaintiff said he had “dedicated the greater part of his life and wealth to the Archconfraternity which he held so dearly,” and viewed this as a breach of contractual obligations. The letter was the last chance for the Archconfraternity to uphold its side of the bargain, he said, or face further legal action.

Lawyer Stefano Filletti signed the judicial letter.

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