A Greek Orthodox priest accused of embezzling church money to support a luxury lifestyle was a no-show in court Thursday.
Father James Dokos missed his first court appearance because his car broke down.
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church is an icon on Milwaukee’s northwest side. Prosecutors said it was financially struggling when its priest began siphoning money for his personal use back in 2008.
When the court clerk called Dokos’ case, his attorney appeared alone, saying the priest’s car broke down on the way.
“There were some travel problems, and as a result, we communicated that it’s rescheduled for Monday afternoon,” Dokos’ attorney Patrick Knight said.
Elderly church members left more than $1 million to Annunciation, and named Dokos trustee.
Prosecutors said he improperly used more than $100,000 on travel, dining and jewelry for friends and family, as well as paying personal bills.
Prosecutors said the money the priest embezzled from the church was intended for the construction of its new cultural center.
“Prosecutors say he kept more than $100,000, WISN 12 News reporter Colleen Henry said to a Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church parishioner.
“I don’t think so,” Georgia Koremenos said. “I mean, he’s a priest for crying out loud.”
Dokos left Annunciation two years ago for a church near Chicago, but some parishioners in Milwaukee remain supportive.
“One other time when I was in church, he did make an announcement that he got a personal donation, and he turned it over to the church, so evidently he can’t be that bad because why would he say that in front of all the parishioners?” Koremenos said.
Annunciation’s parish president said the church won’t comment while the court case is ongoing.
If Dokos fails to appear in court on Monday, the court will order his arrest.