TBN’s Family Feud Gets Awkward
It’s easy to take potshots at the Trinity Broadcasting Network given some of the crazy on-air antics that rival YouTube’s most viral videos these days. But the latest allegations involving TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch are more than just a “he said, she said” case; they’re down-right weird, considering it’s the Crouches’ granddaughter filing suit.
While it should be noted the lawsuit isn’t directly against TBN, the allegations of $50 million in misused donations say enough.
I’ll blog later on this as we find out more from both sides, but for now, here’s the story our news editor just posted.
TBN Founders’ Granddaughter Claims Misuse of ‘Charitable Assets’By Jennifer LeClaire
In what may appear to outsiders as a family feud, Brittany Koper is alleging that Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) founders Paul and Jan Crouch have illegally tapped into “charitable assets” totaling more than $50 million for personal use.
But TBN’s attorney tells Charisma News that Koper—the Crouches’ granddaughter—is making “absurdly ridiculously, untrue statements.”
Koper is the daughter of Paul Crouch Jr., who served as chief financial officer at TBN until he resigned in September. At that time, younger Crouch moved into a position as director of project development at The Word Network. He declined to comment.
Koper alleges she discovered foul financial moves when she took the reigns of TBN’s finance department—and that she was instructed to keep it confidential. Koper claims she refused to cover up the alleged financial impropriety and was therefore wrongfully terminated.
“Following her appointment, Ms. Koper was specifically instructed to falsify public financial disclosures, to falsify government records, and to otherwise cover up conduct of the TBN Companies and their directors that Ms. Koper reasonably believed to be unlawful,” her lawyer argued in the complaint, which was filed in an Orange County, Calif., court.
Although it appears to be a family disturbance, Koper is not actually suing TBN. Instead, she’s making these claims as part of a lawsuit against her former attorneys at Davert & Loe. Koper is accusing the law firm of breaching its duties, professional negligence, sexual assault and inflicting emotional distress.
“Ms. Koper sought the defendant attorneys’ legal advice about these matters. In response, the defendant attorneys acknowledged that the conduct in question was unlawful but nevertheless advised, encouraged and instructed Ms. Koper to perform and cover up such unlawful activities within the TBN Companies,” the suit claims.
Colby May, TBN’s legal counsel and national spokesperson, has reviewed Koper’s lawsuit. While the suit makes assertions about financial improprieties at TBN, May says no misappropriation has taken place at the Christian broadcasting network.
“The reality is Ms. Koper is very much in hot water, shall we say, for her own misappropriation of monies and, in fact, we believe embezzlement of monies,” May told Charisma News.
“We filed all necessary documents with the Internal Revenue Service before any lawsuits were filed to alert the IRS that we believe illegal activity has taken place.”
May notes that the embezzlement did not occur at TBN, but rather from a separate tax exempt organization called International Christian Broadcasters. ICB, May explains, is primarily funded from personal contributions from the elder Crouch. May says Koper and her husband confessed to embezzling a “significant amount of money” from the organization, and ICB worked through Davert & Loe to seek restitution. Koper could not be reached for comment.
“Ms. Koper is making some flat out absurdly, ridiculously, untrue statements,” May says. “Frankly, in my estimation and view this is all a classic try-to-cover-your-tail-feathers maneuver way after the fact and way after Ms. Koper and her husband made their mea culpa and confessed to their illicit activity.”
But Koper’s attorney, Tymothy MacLeod, is pushing hard against TBN and its founders. In fact, this isn’t the first time he’s been part of a lawsuit that involves TBN. He represented Brian Dugger in a discrimination lawsuit the homosexual broadcast engineer brought against TBN in 2009.
“Observers have often wondered how the Crouches can afford multiple mansions on both coasts, a $50 million jet and chauffeurs,” MacLeod said, according to The Orange County Register. “And finally, with the CFO coming forward, we have answers to those questions.”