For an album celebrating his 25 years as a Roman Catholic priest, Guido John Carcich dug up an old photograph of himself taken when he was a young New Jersey seminarian. He pasted it in the book and underneath it wrote: "Glamor boy, I love me."
That was in 1970, when Father Carcich was on his way to becoming an uncommonly successful charity fund-raiser and Baltimore priest-businessman, enjoying his status with fancy meals, Las Vegas vacations, fine cars and the companionship of the political elite.
He conducted his fund raising for the Pallottine Fathers out of a Baltimore row house, sealed off from the public by closed circuit TV monitors and plate glass more befitting a bank or intelligence agency. He raised millions of dollars - as much as $20 million in an 18-month period - from millions of people responding to slick, direct-mail appeals for starving children.
Those contributors didn't know it then, but Carcich - nicknamed "The Good Father" by his friends - was personally worth $350,000 or more.
At the height of his power, this immigrant priest was considered a genius of the directmail technique. Like any successful executive, his future was promising.
On Nov. 19, 1975, The Washington Post reported that the Pallottine order had lent $54,000 to Maryland Gov. Marvin Mandel to help finance his divorce settlement - a priest of the Roman Catholic Church, which abhors divorce, using charitable donations raised in the name of the church, had assisted in one of the nation's most publicized divorces. Two years later, on Dec. 9, 1977, Donald E. Webster, the accountant to Carcich and the Pallotines and the order's investment adviser, put a gun to his head and committed suicide in his 20th-floor condominium apartment overlooking the Atlantic in Ocean City, Md.
What went on between those two years, the events leading up to yesterday's indictment of Carcich, must have been well beyond the imagination of the jaunty "glamor boy."
It was reported in 1976 that the order had lent hundreds of thousands of dollars to a construction company that itself was the center a scandal. The Baltimore Sun - In a series of exposes - reported that millions of dollars of Pallottine money had been invested in Florida real estate and in speculative ventures with politically connected businessmen, and that Pallottine priest had callously instructed workers at its Baltimore warehouse to discard prayer requests from contributors, many of them elderly people of small means.
Carcich was pictured in newspaper reports, living it up in Las Vegas while on Pallottine business and driving around in new cars provided by Pallottine clients. It was reported that he received $100,000 in "consultant fees" from the firm hired by the religious order to conduct its direct mail operation.
Ultimately, an audit was conducted that showed that for each dollar received by the Pallottines, only about 2 1/2 cents ever reached the hungry children or overseas missions for which it was intended by the donors. Carcich was banned - prohibited from functioning as a priest in the Baltimore Archdiocese - and his activities were condemned by the archbishop of Baltimore. The grand jury probe was begun.
Attorneys for the Pallottines said throughout the various investigations that these investments were necessary to insure the future financial security of the missions. The archbishop of Baltimore felt differently.
"People of good will were led to believe that their money would go directly to benefit missions. The actions taken were clearly wrong . . . the practices - immoral," said Baltimore Archbishop William D. Borders when he released the audit of the pallottines two years ago.
The controversy led to reforms. In the spring of 1977, the Baltimore Archdiocese adopted new guidelines to regulate charity fund-raising. Last November the organizations representing all the American Catholic bishops, nuns, brothers and priests agreed on new national guidelines similar to Baltimore's to eliminate the possibility of another Carcich-style scandal.
Maryland's General Assembly also enacted laws, requiring religious charities to make annual public financial reports and limit fund-raising costs to insure that contributions actually reach charities. National legislation aimed at the same problems has been proposed.
For years the worldly, and friends say gaudy, life of Carcich was a secret from the public and the Catholic hierorchy. Much of the property he purchased for Pallottine investments was done in his own name, without priestly title or mention of his order. He earned consultant fees, paid through a separate, private company. He was an easy friendship with the politically influential. When Mandel needed money to finance his divorce, Carcich's friend and accountant; Donald E. Webster (also Mandel's campaign treasurer), knew exactly who to ask.
"I picked up the telephone and called Father Carcich . . . I said, "Could you slip over for a few minutes?" and he said "Yes. I'll be over in a few minutes." Webster testified at the political corruption trial of Marvin Mandel, where the loan figured as part of the $300,000 worth of bribes Mandel received from his codefendants.
At a private crab feast in Webster's home Mandel received a $42,000 check - laundered through a car dealer to obscure the origin of the money - from the Pallottines. Carcich was there that afternoon in Webster's study, and he stayed for the rest of the party arranged as a reunion for friends who had gone to Rome together.
In other loan transactions, the Pallottines used lawyers and banks to conceal what they were doing. One lawyer, Charles E. Brooks, of Towson, Md., said in a 1976 interview with The Washington Post that he would often receive a check from the religious order made out in his name. He might not find out for several days, who the money was really intended for he said.
Through the use of a legal device, Brooks became an "escrowee" for the loans as it moved to its ultimate destination.
Brooks said in the interview that he would either get a telephone call from the Pallottines, informing him of the recipient of the loan, or he would call Carcich and ask.
When Carcich decide to invest in Florida real estate, he went big. The Pallottines purchased the Orleans Inn and the Red Coconut Trailer park in Lee County in southwest Florida - investments worth $1.3 million - and three nearby lots worth another $1 million. They bought three roadside motels in Lauderdale-by-the Sea, the Yellow Bird, Bahama Seas and Bon Aire. They were not beachside properties and were less than luxurious.
"They just walked in (in 1974) and wanted to know if I was interested in selling," said the former owner of the Yellow Bird motel.
In that same year, the Pallotines sent $261,896 to foreign missions.
The Sun described a number of Carcich's major investments locally, especially in partnerships with politically influential men like W. Dale Hess (convicted with Mandel), Donald E. Webster and his nephew, C. Dennis Webster.
Carcich proved to be a complicated man: a jolly, compliant money lender for Mandel and his friends, but a difficult taskmaster for those who worked under him.
From his concrete warehouse in one of Baltimore's newest industrial parks and his paneled offices near the Lexington Market. Carcich ran his dominion in secrecy. Steel bars, intercoms, one-way mirrors and guards kept unwanted visitors out of Carcich's office. So did the exterior of his row-house compound, which had not a sign to identify it as the headquarters of the Pallottine Fathers Mission drive.
Employees have said that Carcich kept them on a rigid schedule, refusing, for instance, to let them take extra breaks to don sweaters in the cold weather. They could not talk to each other during working hours or make personal telephone calls.
Some of these employees told Sun reporters that Carcich instructed them to ignore contributor requests that special masses be said by a priest unless there was at least $10 donated.
While the attorney general investigated the criminal aspects of Carcich's operation, the archdiocese asked a moral theologian from St. Marys' Seminary to investigate these charges of religious deception. A 21-page report concluded that the Pallottines did have the requested masses, said - 19,762 masses alone from $1 contributions.
The contributions of such donors may eventually find their way to the Pallottine charities. Under an agreement reached with Maryland Attorney General Francis B. Burch, the Pallottines agreed to liquidate all their assets by this August and send the money to their missions.