Utica priest charged with not paying for renovations

A Utica priest facing charges that he failed to pay contractors close to $500,000 for renovations to his church says his funding source for the work fell through.

The Observer-Dispatch of Utica reports that the Very Rev. Stephen Enea, head of the Cathedral of the Theotokos of Great Grace in Utica, pleaded not guilty Monday to grand larceny charges.

Enea faces charges along with his chief operating officer.

Enea says he intended to pay the bills. But after starting the restoration work about two years ago based on a promised financial donation, the benefactor's life-situation changed and they could no longer contribute.

Enea has until Sept. 5 to decide if he will accept a deal offered by the district attorney or go to trial.