The case of Padre Minor is a gift that keeps on giving despite the Catholic Church’s attempt to hush it up, keep the priest quiet.
Two of the main characters in the Radio María and Minro Calvo saga are dead: Monseñor Román Arrieta died in 2005 and Parmenio Medina was murdered in 2001.
Calvo, after spending time in prison for his role in the murder of Medina, today owns a steakhouse in Cartago, the same restaurant he worked from his release from prison.
In the new television program by Edgar Silva, “Las Paredes Oyen” (Walls Have Ears), Calvos said that he was asked (by Arrieta) to leave Radio María because Medina threatened to make public the scandals of the Catholic Church. Medina was originally from Colombian and worked in Costa Rica as a journalist.
The scandals that Medina referred to were never made public, Radio Maria eventually closed, Medina was murdered, Calvo and his business partner, Omar Chavez, were implicated in the murder.
The Catholic Church, who is now in the hands of Monseñor José Rafael Quirós, Archbishop of San José, is not commenting on Calvo’s statements this week.
Who did speak on the matter in defending the Church was Sixto Varela, spokesperson for the Alajuela Diocese. Varela said that Calvo missed a great opportunity to make peace after all this time.
Varela said it is untrue that Arrieta sent four priests, two of them now Bishops (monseñor Quirós y monseñor Fernández), to tell Calvo to leave the radio station and that the situation at the radio station were such that he (Calvo) would have left anyways without anyone pushing him out.
“I think the problem we have now is that neither Arrieta or Parmenio are alive to tell their story, and it is easy to blame one on the other”, said Varela.
According to Varela, Radio Maria was closed due to bad administration, not that there was any theft (as is believed), just it wasn’t run properly.
Calvo was convicted of fraud in 2007 of the radio station he had founded. In it heyday, Radio Maria de Guadalupe took in some US$2.500 a day in donations, a record figure in Costa Rica.
However, criticism from the radio humorous-satirical program called “La Patada” hosted Medina created friction between the Calvo and the media, as La Patada alleged embezzlement. The La Patada radio program was characterized by cutting edge sarcastic humor, and the target of his jokes were corruption, soccer, politics, and “Radio Maria de Guadalupe”.
La Patada would regularly expose items like members of the Calvo family taking trips to the US on the radio station’s expense, and that receipts were never given to donors, preventing a proper accounting of same. The allegations were supported by former employees of Radio Maria.
The situation worsened when a police patrol stopped a car driven by Calvo, in the middle of the night and a dark area in the La Sabana park, in the company of a minor. Calvo told the media that he was teaching the minor to drive the car. The name of the minor was never disclosed, for obvious reasons.
Due to the highly controversial situation, Arrieta decided to terminate the operations of Radio Maria. Despite the protests Arrieta stayed firm in his decision.
Today, the frequency is used by the radio station “La Paz del Dial” and remains religious, but does not maintain any link with Calvo nor his way of doing things.
On July 7, 2001, Parmenio Medina was shot dead at the entrance of his home. The crime was committed by assassins who fled the scene quickly in what the police report was a grey Hyundai, a very popular car in Costa Rica at the time.
Suspicions connected Calvo and his business partner, Omar Chavez, to the crime and were arrested on charges of being the masterminds behind the murder.
Calvo was found not guilty in the murder plot, but sentenced to 15 years in prison for embezzlement of the radio station. Chavez was convicted to 35 years in prison for the murder of Medina and 12 years for embezzlement of Radio Maria. Others linked to the crime were sentenced for 30 years each. In total nine stood trial for the Medina murder, six of which were found guilty.
In 2008, from his prison cell Calvo attempted to return to the airwaves from prison. However, prison regulations does not permit such an activity and began a legal battle, which he lost.
In total, Calvo spent 5 1/2 years behind bars.
Today, at 50 years of age and with all the scandals behind him his call is to serving up juicy steaks to hungry customers. But…