In 2012, a married couple from Massachusetts, Alain Beret and James Fairbanks, came across a for-sale 44-room mansion in Northridge that they decided they wanted to buy and turn into a hotel. The seller was the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester.
The negotiations seemed to go well until the padres began to imagine what Fairbanks and Beret might do with the place. Would they perhaps (shudder) have gay weddings there? The very thought was too much, so the diocese instructed its real-estate broker to politely tell Fairbanks and Beret to buzz off.
The reason behind the refusal might have never come to light if not for a dumb mistake by the broker. When she emailed the prospective buyers, she inadvertently sent along the message from Monsignor Thomas Sullivan to her.