Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Monday, February 20, 2012

TBN Lawsuit, OC Register (2/19/12): "God Help Anyone" Who Gets in TBN's Way

A very telling paragraph in this saga that will have long-term consequences beyond the civil action filed by TBN's Grandaughter, Brittany Kober:  "She has filed reports with the Orange County District Attorney's Office, the police and the California State Bar, her attorney said. She has also engaged accounting and audit consultants who said that a report to IRS investigators should be ready for submission this week."  For readers of Reformati0n Anglicanism (RA), the "tag lines" can be used for research and more articles will appear. We've added the pictures, otherwise the story is as posted yesterday.  RA has long opposed TBN.  Stay tuned.

‘God help anyone' who gets in TBN's way

Teri Sforza Register Columnist

We told you last week that the granddaughter of Trinity Broadcasting Network's Paul and Jan Crouch has accused the world's largest Christian broadcaster of unlawfully distributing charitable assets worth more than $50 million to the company's directors.

The charges were leveled in a federal lawsuit filed by Crouch granddaughter Brittany Koper against her former lawyers, who also do legal work for Trinity.

One of those lawyers said her charges were “outright fiction and wholly without merit;” and a lawyer for Trinity says it's actually Koper who committed financial misdeeds at TBN and she's trying to divert attention by filing this suit.

The day that our story ran online, Paul Crouch and his son Matt were having a live chat on TBN's “Behind the Scenes.” Paul was reminiscing about how TBN began in 1973 – God spoke to him as he was driving on MacArthur Boulevard – and the conversation took a turn that Koper's attorney finds somewhat menacing.

“You know what's funny, Dad?” Matt said. “There have been a few attempts in the TBN history to upset TBN, to stop TBN, to – there have been a few fools in the 38-, 39-year history, coming up on 40 years, and you know what, any attempt at stopping TBN – they have no idea who they're actually pushing into the corner. You and Mom get pushed in a corner, God help you. That's a lesson I've learned from you, seriously.”

Paul Crouch responded: “God help anyone who would try to get in the way of TBN, which was God's plan. … I have attended the funerals of at least two people who tried. …

“Boy, anyone that's ever tried to get in the way of this network – don't. Don't try it. Don't try it, I'm telling you. You're playing with fire. God says, ‘I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'

“And TBN, you know what, just plain old TBN as a great network entity is proof of the sovereignty of God and the power of God against hell and high water. This network stands as a monument to the faithfulness of God. He did it. Jan and I were just simple little kids – we didn't even know what we were doing. It was God's idea. He did it all.”

Crouch soon appealed for donations.

“Anyone have a need?” he asked. “Plant a seed. Get to the phone.”

The comments were directed at no one in particular, but they resounded with Koper. In her suit, Koper says she was threatened by Trinity officials.

“After and as a result of reporting and objecting to her employers' unlawful conduct, Ms. Koper was terminated by the TBN Companies,” the suit says. “In retaliation, the TBN Companies also terminated Ms. Koper's husband, Michael Koper, who was Trinity Broadcasting's Corporate Secretary and Vice President of Media Services.

“When questioned about the grounds for termination, Matthew Crouch, a director at Trinity Broadcasting, began tapping the firearm he had brought to the meeting and asked Ms. Koper what she thought would happen when she wrote a memo to the board critical of Matthew Crouch's financial improprieties. Matthew Crouch continued tapping the gun he was holding to ensure that Ms. Koper recognized the lethal threat being made.”

Trinity Christian Center, which does business as TBN, is a nonprofit in the eyes of Uncle Sam, which means it doesn't pay taxes on its income.

It reported revenue of $175.6 million, expenses of $193.7 million, and net assets of $827.6 million at the end of 2010, according to its tax returns. Its highest-paid officer was Paul Crouch, with compensation of $400,000.

Koper's attorney, Tymothy MacLeod, said Koper is readying documentation regarding her charges.

She has filed reports with the Orange County District Attorney's Office, the police and the California State Bar, her attorney said. She has also engaged accounting and audit consultants who said that a report to IRS investigators should be ready for submission this week.

The attorneys Koper is suing, Davert & Loe, sued Koper while they were representing her, her suit says. It charged Koper and her husband with myriad financial improprieties, but it was dismissed last month.

Davert & Loe have engaged legal counsel through their malpractice insurance carrier to fight Koper's suit, MacLeod said.

“We are uncertain what kind of defense the Davert & Loe Lawyers expect to present in this case,” MacLeod told us my email. “Secretly suing your own client while representing her as counsel of record in ongoing litigation, let alone giving her legal advice concerning the subject matter of the adverse lawsuit you have secretly filed, is what we call a ‘per se' violation of professional responsibilities. We hope that this open and shut case of legal malpractice will be quickly resolved, so we can focus more intently on the larger issues here: namely Ms. Koper's reported allegations of unlawful distributions by the directors TBN, one of the largest tax-exempt religious nonprofits in the nation.”

We asked Davert & Loe for comment and got an email back from Colby M. May, an attorney for Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana Inc. and International Christian Broadcasters Inc. (Trinity does business as TBN.)

May stressed that Koper's suit is against her attorneys, not against Trinity or TBN.

“(B)ecause you continue to report the false assertion made by Ms. Koper that Trinity's directors have ‘diverted' charitable assets, I am advising you of the following: (1) Ms. Koper has admitted several times to having embezzled and misappropriated money; (2) Ms. Koper's (and her husband's) bad conduct and activities were reported some months ago to the IRS and all required returns have been submitted; (3) in recognition of her misconduct and bad acts, Ms. Koper has made partial restitution, it was only after she and her husband fled to New York that these efforts ceased; (4) Ms. Koper's suit against Davert & Loe, and her outrageous, false, and unsubstantiated assertions about TBN made in that suit, are a vain attempt to divert attention from her embezzlement and misconduct; and (5) at no time have any charitable assets of Trinity or ICB been ‘diverted' to any director, period.”

And contrary to MacLeod's statement, Koper's suit does not present any “larger issues,” May said.

To that, Koper's attorney MacLeod said: “Mr. May is throwing stones inside a crystal cathedral. Ms. Koper has done the right thing by coming forward.”

We'll keep you posted on how this progresses.

Links to the TBN video at /category/nonprofits.

More Watchdog at /watchdogblog.

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