The ACA, as I've mentioned here, has brought several actions against Fr Kelley, basically alleging that he stole money from the parish. In one action, it alleged that Fr Kelley forged the senior warden's signature (as well as, presumably, the signature of a second authorized signer) on a check. This was quickly resolved when the senior warden testified that the signature was in fact his; the court found in Fr Kelley's favor, and that action is no longer pending.
A civil suit is still pending against Fr Kelley, alleging that he stole money from the parish. It's worth pointing out that, despite brave words from Anthony Morello in 2012, no criminal charges have emerged from these allegations. The reason is presumably that a criminal case must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to a unanimous jury, and if the ACA ever chose to bring its evidence before the district attorney, the DA would not have felt there was a case. A civil case, on the other hand, requires only a jury majority of nine out of twelve, based on the preponderance of evidence.
Even so, the ACA's case is going to be weak-to-nonexistent. As I've already said here, my first-hand experience of the parish's finances was that it was breaking even on authorized salaries and other expenditures. The parish was paying clergy and staff, paying heat and air conditioning, dealing with plumbing emergencies, buying candles and incense, and chasing away pests and termites, all proper and reasonable expenditures, all known to and approved by the vestry. There wasn't any surplus.
Quite simply, there was nothing there to steal. As interim treasurer in 2011, I saw no evidence that anyone was even trying. An accountant engaged to do an audit in early 2012 said the same thing. My current surmise, perhaps similar to the surmise at the Freedom for St Mary blog, is that the parish dissidents have been lying to the ACA and the attorneys about the real state of affairs. (That, of course, puts the best possible face on the actions of the ACA and its attorneys.)
In a puzzling strategy, though, the ACA brought a civil suit against Fr Kelley and then made a motion for summary judgment in its favor. My wife points out that a motion for summary judgment is normally a defense strategy -- in other words, the plaintiff brings the suit, the defense then asks the judge to rule that the plaintiff doesn't have a case. Here, though, the ACA asked the court to rule that its case was so strong that there shouldn't even be a trial.
Just recently, the court ruled the ACA's case wasn't that strong, there was going to have to be a trial. This is regarded as a defeat for the ACA. The feeling among Fr Kelley's friends and supporters is that the ACA simply has no evidence, which is why it wanted a summary judgment. Unfortunately, the rules for civil discovery in California make it impractical to move for discovery of the ACA's evidence until just before trial; at any earlier time, the plaintiff can simply say he doesn't have anything, and the defense's one shot at discovery is wasted. It's nevertheless hard not to surmise that the ACA simply has no evidence to support its case.
William Lancaster's record as an attorney is not good, with a well-publicized malpractice case against him that led to his leaving a prestige law firm. We'll have to see if handsome is continues to be as handsome does. The ACA, it seems to me, is doubling down on its future as well.