PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is auctioning off a sprawling beachfront villa in New Jersey to help close a $17 million deficit.

The 11-bedroom property in Ventnor, near Atlantic City, is set for auction on Sept. 15.

Villa St. Joseph is assessed at about $6.3 million. It’s been a retreat for priests for a half-century. But the taxes are nearly $115,000 a year.

The Philadelphia archdiocese says it’s spent more than $10 million on legal fees in the past two years amid a lengthy criminal trial and related lawsuits over clergy abuse cases.

Archbishop Charles Chaput is selling the Ventnor villa, his private residence, an office building and other assets to address the deficit. He’s also cut 45 jobs.

The 10,000-square-foot villa spans an entire beach block.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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