The following will appear this Wednesday in The Weekender.
Turns out that one of the most extravagant partiers that calls The Valley their residence, doesn’t even party within Northeastern PA.
He is 43 year-old Gregory Malia – but many in the area as well as the bar staffs he so generously tips simply know him as “Father Greg.”
That isn’t a nickname for his charitable contributions on bills – tipping as much as 60 percent on one tab, which brought the grand total to a staggering $45,000.
Nope, this big city, bottle-ordering patron is of the priesthood. Father Gregory Malia preaches at St. James, a summer-only Episcopal Church in Carbondale.
Credit the New York Daily News with breaking this story. Their reporter scored an interview with Fr. Greg, however a publicist for the company which Malia owns cut the conversation short. The pharmacy specializes in medicine dedicated to blood disorders – allegedly the source funding these spending sprees of up to $52,000… in one night.
You’re probably wondering, and the answer is no, Malia doesn’t see anything wrong with the situation.
“I work hard. I make good money. How I spend it – that’s my business,” the priest told a reporter for the Daily News, which ran the article in its Sunday edition.
Bishop Paul V. Marshall of the Diocese of Bethlehem cares to dissent. The diocesan head swiftly released a statement via the Internet the day that the article ran.
“The allegations made in the article, if true, constitute a serious violation of ordination vows to be ‘a wholesome example’ to a priest’s people,” writes Bishop Marshall. “If true, they may also violate other canonical provisions and certainly portray an unacceptable idea of Christian stewardship,” Bishop Marshall wrote. The Bishop goes on to reveal that The Daily News did not reach out to him or his communications department for comment, and that Malia hadn’t returned an e-mail and a phone call.
Furthermore, the Bishop removed Malia as his vicar at St. James, prohibiting him from the exercise of priestly ministry.
The Daily News would not comment on the piece, noting that it is still a work in progress.
I shouldn’t and won’t pass judgment on Malia, however I will say that he could certainly teach a thing or two about tipping to most of the celebrities and athletes that roll through this area.
T.I. SHOW CANCELLED
Speaking of celebrities in the 570, T.I. will not be one of them, at least in 2008. E & R Entertainment’s Jingle Jam, which was to feature T.I.P. along with fellow Atlanta artist Young Jeezy, was canceled Monday.
The concert was slated for December 29. Ticket holders can receive a full refund at point-of-purchase. The promoter cited ticket sales as the reason for cancellation, although a reschedule date is still in the works – pending approval from the judge overseeing T.I.’s forthcoming jail sentence, which begins in March 2009.
Listen to Ralphie Aversa weekdays from 5-10p on 97 BHT.