Disempowered former priest who stole $300,000 runs NYC nonprofits with city contracts




March 11, 2023 | 5:31 p.m

An ousted ex-con who was serving as the diocesan spin doctor at the height of the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal now runs two New York nonprofits that have raked in millions in taxpayer dollars.

Edward Bolognini, formerly a senior New Hampshire saint named Edward Arsenault, pleaded guilty in 2014 to stealing around $300,000 from a Catholic hospital, his diocese and the estate of a dead priest.

The monsignor’s sins reportedly included wasting some of the stolen money on his lover – musician Luke Parkin – who paid for expensive meals and trips to San Francisco and New York.

“This is criminal behavior. It’s disturbing behavior,” then New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said after the priest’s 2014 conviction. “These are thefts from a charity by someone very high.”

Bolognini was a well-known figure in New Hampshire in the early 2000s as spokesman for the Diocese of Manchester.

Monsignor Edward Arsenault preparing to plead guilty to theft in 2014.
Then Arsenault pleads guilty in April 2014.

Bolognini served four years in prison, some of them under house arrest, before being released in 2018. Pope Francis had chased him out of the priesthood a year earlier.

In June 2018, the former prelate transitioned to community service, joining the sprawling Midtown-based FedCap group. According to his online resume, his tenure includes serving as interim vice president of human resources for FedCap, which is involved in healthcare and professional education, among other things.

Bolognini became executive director of two non-profit organizations under the umbrella of FedCap Group – ReServe Elder Service and Wildcat Services Corp.

Both groups have raised $20 million in city funds over the past five years, according to the Court of Auditors.

Bolognini received $156,000 in 2020, the latest year of available tax returns.

ReServe helps older adults find work in city government and elsewhere. The group received $10 million to promote the COVID-19 vaccine and distribute test kits and masks, according to its website.

Edward Arsenault, now called Edward Bolognini, runs two non-profit organizations in New York City.

Wildcat’s job is to help former inmates and others find jobs.

Bolognini’s biography on that group’s website indirectly mentions his past, saying, “Ed is among the estimated 70 million Americans who have been involved in the criminal justice system.” It does not reveal that he was a priest or his crimes.

His leadership could give donors a break, a monitoring group said.

“It’s certainly reasonable as a donor to be concerned if you’re considering giving to a charitable organization that has hired someone with a criminal background,” said Kevin Scally of Charity Navigator.

Susan Walsh, a FedCap spokeswoman, said Bolognini shared his criminal conviction with the agency. She said he changed his name when he married his husband in 2020.

Walsh said the financial management of ReServe and Wildcat is overseen by employees at Fedcap Group and that the nonprofit is about “second chances.”

“Wildcat serves people who, like Ed, have previously been imprisoned and paid off their debts to society, giving them another chance at a prosperous future. We do not discriminate against anyone based on sexual orientation or personal background, and Ed and his entire team embody our deep commitment to service, personal renewal and a brighter future for all people,” said Walsh.

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