The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, April 30, 1987, Image 13

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Thursday, April 30, 1987/The Battalion/Page 13
PTL begins probe into holdings
of exiled evangelist Jim Bakker
FORT MILL, S.C. (AP) — The
PTL has begun examining the hold-
of exiled evangelist Jim Bakker
^/determine which of his assets may
have been bought with ministry
funds, a spokesman for the Rev.
|erry Falwell said Wednesday.
Millions of dollars in salaries and
bonuses paid to Bakker and his top
executives were improperly fun-
neled from the ministry, said Mark
DeMoss, Falwell’s executive assis-
DeMoss said PTL officials had not
determined which assets, including
two homes and luxury cars, the cou
ple may have bought with ministry
That’s going to take a few days of
ooking at the t)ooks,” he said, add-
ngthat all of the couple’s holdings
would be examined. The Bakkers
nay be asked to surrender any assets
iought with ministry funds, he said.
Bakker and his wife, Tammy,
lave amassed at least $850,000
orth of leal estate and cars in re
tent years.
The couple bought a sprawling
nansion in Palm Springs, Calif., for
,000, a mountainside home in
Jatlinburg, Tenn., for $148,500, a
new Mercedez-Benz for $45,000 and
a vintage 1953 Rolls-Royce for
The couple have said they used
their own money to buy the Palm
Springs house.
The review of salaries and bo
nuses paid Bakker is expected to en
compass all of PTL’s top executives
profit, tax-exempt status, Falwell
said Tuesday.
The Internal Revenue Service
and the South Carolina Tax Com
mission have challenged PTL’s tax-
exempt status. The commission is
demanding $5.5 million in back
taxes, penalty and interest it claims
PTL owes for not applying a hotel
“Even if not for the IRS problem, we still have a prob
lem with a great deal of that. We have a serious prob
lem with that level of compensation.”
— Mark DeMoss, PTL spokesman
under the evangelist, each of whom
received more than $100,000 last
year, DeMoss said.
“It’s part of an effort to bring all
pay and benefits down to a reasona
ble scale,” DeMoss said.
The high salaries paid Bakker and
his wife — $1.6 million last year —
and other PTL executives, along
with the $265,000 payment from
PTL funds to keep Bakker’s 1980
sexual tryst with Jessica Hahn secret,
has threatened the ministry’s non
room tax to donors who get free
Under tax-exempt status, an indi
vidual may not receive funds except
as reasonable payment for goods or
“Even if not for the IRS problem,
we still have a problem with a great
deal of that,” DeMoss said. “We have
a serious problem with that level of
Richard Dortch, whom the board
ousted as president of PTL, received
$350,000 last year. Bakker’s per
sonal aide and his executive secre
tary received $360,000 a d
$160,000 respectively in 1986, the
Charlotte (N.C.) Observer has re
ported. In each case, at least half of
payments were in the form of bo
The committee’s decision on
whether to seek assets of the former
PTL executives should be made in
the next few 7 weeks, DeMoss said.
Earlier Wednesday, Falwell took
over as host of the “PTL Club” tele
vision show and assured donors the
ministry would survive, complying
with “the rules and regulations of
man as well as of God.”
Falwell said on the show taped in
Lynchburg, Va., for broadcast over
his own Liberty Broadcasting Net
work and the PTL cable network
that the success of the $129 million
ministry and Christian retreat de
pends on donations.
“Join us ... to see to it this min
istry never becomes just a page in
history,” lie said during his first ap
pearance as host of the program.
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Austin native to head PTL Club operations
P) — The stock
moderate rally
ng to recover
average of 30
led 22.30 to
ruggiing to aj
ie New York
ante to 173.591
)ke a four-ses-
fuesday, aided
lizing dollar it/
and an easitiji
ire on interesil
e Departraenl
lay that the in- (j
onomic indb
nt in March,
was consistent
s of a slow-
on economy.
DALLAS (AP) — The businessman chosen by
Hie Rev. Jerry Falwell to clean up the scandal-
idden television evangelistic PTL Club is an
kustin native who has fond memories of his
ibmetown and former church.
“Our job now is to fix a situation here that
leeds to be cleaned up,” said Harry Hargrave,
18, after being chosen to be chief of operations at
Tl, in the wake of the forced resignation of Jim
Hargrave, who has lived in the Dallas area for
!0 years, is a 1966 graduate of Austin’s McCal-
nm igh School.
"1 have a very warm spot in my heart for Aus-
said Hargrave, who played linebacker for
leMcCallum Knights football team.
I can still remember water skiing on Lake
astin and playing Little League baseball and
kking swimming lessons at the University of
pas, ” he recalled. Hargrave said his memories
also focused on Austin’s Covenant Presbyterian
A real estate and financial consultant, Har
grave said he left Austin to attend Southern
Methodist University on a football scholarship.
He played offensive guard for the Mustangs and
was graduated in 19/0 with a bachelor’s degree
in business. He went on to earn a master’s degree
as well.
In a telephone interview with the Austin
American-Statesman, Hargrave said he believes
he was picked by Falwell to lead the PTL Club be
cause of his experience as a consultant for theme
One of the organization’s operations is the
Heritage Village USA resort near Fort Mill, S.C.
Hargrave is a consultant for Silver Dollar ( Tty
in Missouri and the 100-acre Dollywood at Pi
geon Forge, Tenn.
The Heritage Village operation makes up a
large part of the PTL evangelistic enterprise. It is
a religious theme park and resort, which also
serves as headquarters for PTL.
“I have met with Rev. Falwell several times,
and we decided that we need to do tilings cor
rectly and honestly and in a Godly way” to holster
public faith in PTL after the Bakker controversy,
Hargrave said.
Bakker headed PTL until several weeks ago,
when reports surfaced about his sexual liaison
with a church secretary. Falwell was asked by
PTL directors to become chairman of the organi
zation to restore its credibility.
“We commenced an audit of our organization
(Tuesday) afternoon,” Hargrave said. “Within
the week, it will he ' ompleted and we will he able
to answer the question of where we go from here.
“We will have a different format on the TV
show (“The P IT. Club”) within a week, and we
will approach fund-raising in a different way,” he
said, adding that he will not appear on the broad
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