Alleging possible mishandling of trust funds held by the Episcopal Church, a group of Episcopalians filed a complaint last month with a New York State attorney general.

James H. Crosby, a Mobile, Alabama, attorney representing the group, wants access to the records of the accounts, including foreign mission funds that Crosby says were "misdirected." Episcopal officials rejected the request.

"They wanted to conduct the audit themselves," says James Duggan, Episcopal Church treasurer. "I would have been interested if the information we've already provided wasn't being used incorrectly."

A targeted audit of the church trust funds, particularly those managed by former treasurer Ellen Cooke, who embezzled $2.2 million from the church, is already being conducted and should be completed by June.

Crosby calls the denominational audit a smokescreen, claiming it is not thorough enough. His clients are three retired bishops, a priest, and five lay members.

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