When the words “Republican” and “Catholic Church” are placed into the same sentence, one generally assumes a close and loving relationship. After all, “God Bless” is the staple greeting among many conservatives (and is made all the more powerful when adding “America” at the end of it.)
But one lawsuit filed by Christ the King Catholic Church against the general counsel of the Hillsborough County Republican Party proves not all Republicans are in favor with the Catholic Church.
The Tampa church is suing Terri Gaffney, a former prosecutor turned general counsel for a wealth management company, and the Hillsborough GOP for possession of the house formerly owned by her father.
According to a lawsuit filed May 22, John Gaffney died in 2011 and allegedly willed his entire estate to the church. But Gaffney slighted the church by deeding the home to a family trust run by her 25-year-old daughter Sarah Sussman in 2012.
According to Hillsborough County property records, the home is worth $344,000.
The church wants to either retain possession of the home located at 119 S. Clark Avenue in Tampa or be paid out proceeds from its sale. The church is also asking to deny Gaffney any reimbursement she might seek from her late father’s estate for costs she incurred caring for him prior to his death.
That brings up another dispute. In 2013, Gaffney sued the estate for $285,000 she said she spent on her father’s care.
Hopefully, Gaffney doesn’t plan to run for office anytime soon because hijacking an estate left to a Catholic church might not seem very godly to some. That probably wouldn’t bode well among those who are God-fearing Republicans.