TBN Imploding Over Financial Extravagance 05/22/2012

by Teri Sforza, Register staff writer
Grandmother Jan Crouch told granddaughter Brittany Koper that she was a "naive little girl," according to Koper/AP

We’ve been detailing charges of “extravagant” spending at the world’s largest Christian broadcaster–allegations leveled by a granddaughter against her grandfather, grandmother, uncle and aunt.

We’ve been detailing IRS codes and compliance reviews and internal memos, but the drama over money at Trinity Broadcasting Network is at heart a family drama, with all the attendant emotions of betrayal, anger and, presumably, heartache.

Paul and Jan Crouch founded TBN back in 1973 — God spoke to Paul as he was driving on MacArthur Boulevard, he has said on air — and he promised to put up his last dollars to make it work. As soon as he made that sacrifice, the donations poured in, he said — and the prosperity gospel TBN preaches has become more wildly successful than he ever imagined. Trinity brings in nearly $200 million a year and has amassed net assets of nearly $1 billion, according to its latest tax returns. It is ”Jesus’s only network,” Jan Crouch has said, and has employed extended members of the Crouch family clan. Until recently.

Brittany Koper, the granddaughter at the root of the current ruckus, is the daughter of Paul Crouch Jr. — the founder’s namesake. After becoming Trinity’s finance director last summer, she tried to correct what she saw as financial excesses, she said in a 180-page declaration filed in Orange County Superior Court — objecting to, among many other things, the free-spending ways of her uncle Matthew Crouch and his wife, Laurie.

Her attempts were not well-received by others in her family, by her account. Soon, her grandfather told her “that Janice and Matthew Crouch ‘want your heads,’ referring to the biblical account of John the Baptist’s beheading by King Herod after John reproved Herod for certain transgressions,” Koper’s declaration reads.

Grandmother Jan Crouch accused her of “biting the hand that feeds you,” and told her that she was a “naive little girl,” the declaration says. Her grandmother told her “that I must either do as I was told without asking questions or find myself ‘out on your ass,’ director Matthew Crouch likewise confronted Michael Koper (Koper’s husband) and I and said he would ‘destroy’ us in response to the specific financial improprieties concerning Matthew Crouch’s compensation that had been reported by me.”

Koper was fired shortly thereafter, and those closest to her went down with her, according to her account. “Each of the primary individuals who had supported my short-lived efforts as director of finance to reform TBN’s unlawful financial practices was subsequently terminated by TBN in retaliation for our stand and objection, including my father Paul Crouch, Jr, my husband Michael Koper, my number two in personnel, and myself,” her declaration says.


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