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About The Author

Andrew M. GreeleyAndrew M. Greeley

Priest, sociologist, author and journalist, Father Andrew M. Greeley built an international assemblage of devout fans over a career spanning five decades. His books include the Bishop Blackie Ryan novels, including The Archbishop in Andalusia, the Nuala Anne McGrail novels,... More

photo: Jane Silvestrii

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EXCERPT

Prologue

The Eyes observed two of Chicago’s most beautiful of beautiful people huddling at Ambria. John Donlan, CEO of Donlan Assets Management, and Maria A. Connors, CEO of Elegant Homes (and cover girl in a recent issue of Chicago Market). Were the handsome couple discussing corporate mergers or perhaps more intimate mergers?

•••

The Ears hear that talk of a romance between John Donlan (Donlan Assets Management) and the gorgeous Maria Angelica Connors (Elegant Homes) reported a couple of weeks ago have caused a tsunami. In both families. “If he wants a fling with a woman like her only two years after his wife died, that’s up to him. But he can’t expect us to accept her,” said an angry Donlan woman.
 
 
Eyes and Ears on Channel 3

Anchorperson: What’s happening in the controversial marriage of John Donlan and Maria Angelica Connors?

Eyes and Ears: It looks like it’s not happening. The Donlans have their skirts in a twist because Donlan Assets Management has invested a ton of money in Elegant Homes. Ears hears that none of the Donlans will be in the wedding party or come to the ceremony in St. Frederick’s Church. One of their nicer words they use for the gorgeous Ms. Connors is “shameless gold digger.”

Anchorperson: They’re both grandparents aren’t they?

Eyes and Ears: That’s part of the problem.

Channel 3 News on Saturday Night

Anchorperson: There were Catholic fireworks at St. Frederick’s Church this afternoon. Father Michael Hennessy, the pastor of St. Freddy’s canceled the Gold Coast wedding of John Patrick Donlan to Maria Connors. In a surprise announcement just before the service began, the pastor informed the stunned congregation that he had evidence that there had been a previous marriage of Ms. Connors in a Catholic church. Our Mary Alice Quinn was there.

Quinn: That’s right, Clarice. It was supposed to be the most fashionable wedding in the autumn season here in the marvelous old German church. Father Hennessy spoiled all the fun.

(Interior shot of priest in a high German-style pulpit overlooking the congregation. Bride is radiant in a light blue gown.)

Hennessy (a smart and overweight young punk in a biretta): I’m afraid that the bride has not been completely honest with the church. She was married at St. Lawrence parish in Oakdale, Illinois, by Father Thomas Hartnett while she was still a student at a non-Catholic university. This marriage was before her alleged marriage to her late husband, in which she lived in sin for many years. Her attempt to marry again here today makes her liable of the punishment of canon law.

(Quick shot of the shocked bride and groom. Cries of outrage from the congregation.)

Quinn: Ms. Connors made a statement as the bridal party left the church.

(Dissolve to exterior shot of bride and groom emerging from church, she wearing a mink coat over her gown. Both are ashen. Media swarm around them with microphones.)

Media: Maria Angelica, why didn’t you tell the priest about your prior marriage?

Media: Did she tell you about it, John?

Ms. Connors (stony-faced but in control): My only previous marriage was to my late husband, Peter James Connors, God be good to him. We will talk to our attorneys to seek relief from this defamation . . . Now if you’ll excuse us we have a wedding dinner to attend.

Quinn: A young woman, presumably from the groom’s family who would not give her name, had a different view.

Young woman: She’s a whore! Serves Jack Donlan right!

Quinn: So there you have it, Clarice, a controversial wedding becomes a controversial banned wedding. We haven’t heard the end of this story. The next scene will probably be in a courtroom.

Anchorperson: A modern Romeo and Juliet in Old Town, Mary Alice?

Quinn: Romeo and Juliet as grandparents, Clarice. Very attractive grandparents.

Channel 3 5:00 News on Sunday Night

Anchorperson: The Catholic church has apparently lifted the ban on the marriage of two high-powered Chicago executives. Our Mary Alice Quinn is at Holy Name Cathedral interviewing Coadjutor Archbishop John B. Ryan.

(Cut to steps of cathedral. Blackie does not look like a coadjutor archbishop. He is wearing black jeans and a Chicago Bears jacket.)

Quinn: That’s right, Clarice. Archbishop Ryan has just told me that Sean Cardinal Cronin has administered the sacrament of matrimony to John Donlan and Maria Angelica Connors in a private ceremony in the cathedral. And the cardinal is now having supper with them in the rectory. How can he do that?

Blackie (blinks behind thick glasses): As we all know, Mary Alice, a cardinal prince of the Catholic church can do just about anything he wants. In this case he determined that there was indeed no evidence to support the claim of a prior marriage. Therefore he apologized to the couple and offered to bless their marriage which the bride and groom administer to one another in a Catholic church. They accepted the offer, if I may say so, with considerable joy.

Quinn: Is that a rebuke to Father Hennessy?

Blackie (sighs loudly): One could suggest that due diligence in such matters might have led one to determine whether there is or ever was a parish named after St. Lawrence anywhere near Oakdale, Illinois, or whether there was in the last four decades a priest in the Rockford Diocese named Thomas Hartnett. It might have required as much as two minutes to make such a determination.

Channel 3 5:00 News on Monday

Anchorperson: The controversy about the wedding between Chicago tycoons John Donlan and Maria A. Connors continues, as one would expect these days in the courts. Our Mary Alice Quinn has been following the story.

(Cut to Daley Center Plaza.)

Quinn: Clarice, Tony Cuneen, the husband of Evie Donlan, filed a suit this afternoon asking that he be appointed conservator of the trust funds for his wife and her two sisters. The funds which are currently under the control of Donlan Assets Management. He also asked the court’s authority to remove all stock in Elegant Homes Inc. from these trust funds.

Cuneen (combative and nervous): My wife and my sisters-in-law are anxious that the trusts which will provide college tuition money for their children not be diverted to purposes which might endanger their solvency. None of us in the family have any idea of how the monies in the three trusts are invested. We would like to have some accountability, especially in view of the current controversies in the family.

Evie: We don’t want that strumpet to have any control over our children’s future. We don’t want her near any of them. She might be contagious.

Quinn: So, Clarice, the fight gets dirtier. No comments on the suit yet from either Donlan Assets Management or Elegant Homes Inc. Back to you, Clarice.

Channel 3 5:00 News on Tuesday

Anchorperson: Another chapter tonight in the battle of the Donlans and the Connors. Our Mary Alice Quinn is in the offices of Meyer, Meier, Major, and Suarez.

Quinn: Jaime Suarez, who is acting for John Patrick Donlan, made a brief announcement this afternoon.

Suarez (tall and handsome, thick black hair edged with grey): I’m Jimmy Suarez and am acting today as Mr. John Patrick Donlan’s attorney. I feel called upon to make a statement with regard to the suit filed yesterday against Mr. Donlan by his son-in-law. He is, as you might suspect, on his honeymoon and in any case would not want to make any public comment. As to the three trust funds for his daughters. Each of them received certified quarterly statements since reaching their majority which list both the contents of the funds and the gains and losses and provide charts of the net gains since the funds began. If they can find any copies of these reports, they will note that consistently over the last two decades, the trusts have grown at a rate exceeding the Dow. They will also note that there is not and never has been any admixture of the common stock of Elegant Homes Inc. in their trusts. I have sent copies of the quarterly reports for the last four years to Mr. Cuneen’s office. But that there may be no confusion in the future, Mr. Donlan has ordered me to hand the trusts over to the appropriate officials at the Chase Bank. We will move tomorrow to quash the suit.

Quinn: What about the mixing of Elegant stock with the trust funds?

Suarez (charming smile): That will be a matter for Mr. Cuneen to discuss with the trustees at Chase. I should probably say that anyone who has studied Mr. Donlan’s methods knows that he has several different investment products, the most famous of which is his Frodo Fund. He shifts investments in and out of that fund with great care. Other securities that he might acquire go into other products. On some occasions he also acquires other securities which he invests in his other products. Some time ago he acquired stock in Elegant Homes for one of his real estate funds. A review of The Wall Street Journal pages of the last several months would show ELG, as it is called, has done very well. Whether it will ever be added to the securities in Frodo is an open question. I would add by the way that as someone who was involved in the acquisition of ELG stock I can testify that he made the decision to acquire those securities before he met Ms. Connors.

Quinn: Do you think, Jimmy, that your clients have been defamed?

Suarez: In my opinion they certainly have. We have yet to decide whether to seek relief.
 

Copyright © 2008 by Andrew M. Greeley Enterprises, Ltd.
All rights reserved.

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