Mass. man taking legal action against Diocese of Worcester

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July 31, 2012, 6:36 pm

(NECN: Katelyn Tivnan) - Alain Beret and his partner had searched for the perfect property.

They were looking for a space to turn into a wedding venue and inn. The pair found it in Whitinsville, at the Oakhurst Retreat and Conference Center – property for sale by the Diocese of Worcester.

"We settled on a price of $1 million for the 26 acres and for the mansion," said Beret.

Beret says negotiations with the diocese were moving forward, but says he was taken off guard when he got word from the Diocese' real estate agent mid-process.

"'The Diocese is no longer going to pursue the sale and have other plans,' basically goodbye and good luck," said Beret.

The news came as a shock to the couple who say they had no idea why the deal fell apart.

Beret says the real surprise came when he read this email chain between the brokers and the Diocese.

It includes an email from Monsignor Tom Sullivan to his realtor, saying in part, "I just went down the hall and discussed it with the bishop. Because of the potentiality of gay marriages there – something thing you shared with us yesterday – we are not interested in going forward with these buyers."

Beret says the fact his business partner is also his life partner was never discussed nor disclosed.

He also says there were no talks to make the property a venue catering to gay weddings.

"It’s a venue for Jewish weddings, Muslim weddings, gay weddings, purple weddings, yellow weddings – we didn't care," said Beret.

NECN reached out to the Diocese for reaction to the situation and the email chain, but has been told Monsignor Sullivan is not available for comment.

Meanwhile, Beret is looking into taking legal action, and says he's not going to walk away from the issue.

"Not going to let this happen because if we go quietly this kind of thing will continue to happen," said Beret.

Tags: worcester, Whitinsville, Katelyn Tivnan, controversy, mansion, property, Diocese of Worcester, Alain Beret
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