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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-06-07 08:06 PM
Original message
"Without Walls" church under investigation by Senate committee
They have churches in the Tampa and Lakeland areas, very large congregations. A couple of months ago Randy and Paula White, the pastors, announced they were divorcing. Some wondered what was going on then.


Picture courtesy of Pushing Rope blog

From Pushing Rope:

Without Walls Under Investigation

The Senate Committee on Finance has launched an investigation into the finances of Without Walls leader Randy and (soon to be divorced) wife Paula White. I'm wondering what the hell took so long.

Paula White owns a $3.5 million condo in Trump Tower. The Whites have spent money on plastic surgey and bought a Bentley convertible using their tax exempt status. The worst offense is selling $871,000 worth of merchandise from their businesses to Without Walls. That is extremely fishy.


More on this topic.

Feds investigate Tampa's Without Walls church


From left, Paula White, Bishop T.D. Jakes and Randy White. The investigation seeks information on a Bentley the Whites gave to Jakes. (Times file photos)

The ranking member of the Senate Committee on Finance has begun an investigation of the financial structure of six television ministries, including Tampa's Without Walls International Church and Paula White Ministries.

In a five-page letter sent to ministers Randy and Paula White on Monday, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, set a Dec. 6 deadline for answers regarding the couple's personal and professional financial histories. In August, the Whites announced they planned to divorce.

The sweeping investigation pinpoints five specific areas, including executive compensation, real and personal assets, and other general expenses paid or received, mostly since 2004.


This is one of those "about time" things. However I know many people who attend there. They have done a lot of good things, but there have to be rules and laws. It will be hurtful to many, just like the Bakker scandal years ago.

From the link...others being investigated.

Also included in the investigation are Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga.; David and Joyce Meyer of Joyce Meyer Ministries in Fenton, Mo.; Creflo and Taffi Dollar of World Changers Church International in College Park, Pa.; Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of Copeland Ministries in Newark, Texas; and Benny Hinn of World Healing center of Grapevine, Texas.


Not familiar with some of the others, but it is a relief to see Benny Hinn being investigated.



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kevinmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-06-07 08:16 PM
Response to Original message
1. Looks like Everyone of the Biggies are on that list. n/t
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mitchum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-06-07 08:27 PM
Response to Original message
2. Grifters
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-06-07 08:28 PM
Response to Original message
3. Megachurches in our area are having rough times....another scandal
A big scandal. This is the First Baptist Church at the Mall, with thousands of members. It really is the whole mall, where Wards and other stores used to be.

Church volunteer accused of sexually abusing boys remains in jail

LAKELAND | Worshippers filled the First Baptist Church at the Mall on Sunday as Pastor Jay Dennis talked to parishioners about weathering the storms in their lives.

Storms make people aware of their priorities, of what is most important and what is insignificant, he said. They strengthen spiritual "muscle," and without them, we would be spiritually flabby.

"Storms protect you," Dennis told church members, his words broadcast on huge television screens as he spoke.

The storm hovering over the Lakeland church - Dennis called it a "Category 5'' - is the investigation and arrest of Marshal Seymour on charges of molesting three teenage boys who he met through his volunteer work at the church, one of Polk's biggest with nearly 9,000 members. Seymour, 40, remained in the Polk County Jail on Sunday night, held on $325,000 bail. He turned himself in late Friday night after a two-week investigation by Lakeland police and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.


He also is suspected of abuse in Alabama after he attended a bible college here. Then he returned here.

Youth Minister Arrested on Sex Charges

According to Lakeland police, Seymour had been convicted of misdemeanor battery in Mobile, Ala., under similar circumstances. Seymour was employed as a youth pastor at the Parkway Assembly of God and was arrested in November 1998 on charges of sexual abuse and sodomy on a 16-year-old boy. The sodomy charge was dropped and Seymour was convicted of battery and sentenced to one year in jail followed by one year of probation, but the jail sentence was suspended, Sgt. Gary Gross said.

"He did exactly what he did here in Mobile, Alabama," Gross said. "Sexual predators tend to be wanderers. They move from one location to another."


Ironically and sadly this is the church that worked with the Catholic church to get laws passed to hurt the rights of the gay community. We attended rallies in support of that community in front of their church, as did many others in our DFA and DEC. I felt a little like a traitor to my Southern Baptist church that used to be...but long gone. Yet, they called us unpatriotic for not supporting the Iraq invasion. So not too much sympathy for them after all.


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4nic8em Donating Member (382 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-06-07 08:37 PM
Response to Original message
4. The Lord
works in mysterious ways...
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-07-07 12:17 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. The wheels of justice....
how they grind slowly.
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Lint Head Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-06-07 09:13 PM
Response to Original message
5. These lying creeps have nothing to do with Christianity.
I have known some of these users. They use the name of Jesus as nothing more than a tool to get rich. Paul and Jan Crouch of TBN fame have threatened people. Is that Christian? They have prayed for people to die. Is that Christian? They are as cynical as the day is long. They do not truly believe in heaven or hell. If they did they would know exactly where they are going and would not lead the lives that they do. :dem:
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-06-07 11:08 PM
Response to Original message
6. More about the ones being investigated. From Christianity Today
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/novemberweb-on...

"Recent articles and news reports regarding possible misuse of donations made to religious organizations have caused some concern for the Finance Committee," Grassley wrote to the ministries in letters asking for detailed financial records.

None of the ministries targetedthose led by Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Eddie Long, Joyce Meyer, and Randy and Paula Whiteare required to file the financial disclosure Form 990 with the IRS because they are are designated as churches.

Grassley "is not just asking them to come in and talk, he is asking them for everything," Kenneth Behr, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, told The Tampa Tribune, which in May ran a lengthy investigative report on the Whites' Without Walls church and its finances.

The ministries have until December 6 to submit audited financial statements, compensation reports, records for ministry jet travel, and other documents. The Tampa Tribune has posted the letters to each ministry."

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-07-07 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
8. Grassley not joined by Democrats? From TAP
"No word yet on whether the Democrats will join him."

http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_fundame...

Republican Minority Opens Investigation of Prosperity Televangelists

"Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, has opened an investigation into the finances of six of the leading prosperity televangelists, Paula White, Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Eddie Long, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn. Grassley is looking into whether these celebrity preachers abused their tax-exempt status by using proceeds to enrich themselves with luxury items like mansions, private jets, and fancy cars. Three of the targeted evangelists (Dollar, Copeland, and Hinn) sit on the Oral Roberts University Board of Regents, which is supposed to be investigating similar charges of financial mismanagement and other abuses there. (John Hagee, whose own use of church funds has been documented in the Prospect, also serves on the ORU Board of Regents.)

No word yet on whether the Democrats will join him, and so far no subpoenas have been issued, just requests for financial statements. Grassley is acting on information from the Trinity Foundation, a religious fraud watchdog group in Texas whose investigations have launched many of the leading media exposes of televangelists. But none of those exposes have resulted in changes in the tax law, which shields church finances from public view.

All six are politically connected -- sought by candidates for implicit or explicit endorsements and mobilizing the shock troops on issues like abortion, homosexuality, Middle East policy, or the separation of church and state. (You can read much more about all of this, and in particular about Copeland, Long, and Hinn, in Gods Profits.) There already have been cries of protest of this government intrusion, so stay tuned for how all of this will play out."

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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-07-07 01:53 PM
Response to Original message
9. Short of Hulk Hogan's kid, this is the biggest news here in Tampa right now.
Nothing trumps famous rich kids getting in trouble, though.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-07-07 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. To give Randy White credit....he once invited Joe Redner on stage
when Redner was running for something.

Gave him a chance to give his campaign speech.

http://sptimes.com/2006/07/17/Tampabay/Strip_club_king_...

Hubby was at a Dem function in Plant City last year, and Redner was in the hallway not welcomed in. He stopped and talked to him, and Redner was shocked that someone stopped.

But he was welcome in Randy White's church, so I give him credit for that.
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roxnev Donating Member (194 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-07-07 03:18 PM
Response to Original message
11. All Religions like the Republicans
they should be called lying for dollars. I have yet to hear the truth from a Republican or a preacher. That is why they are so compatible$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
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theredpen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-08-07 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. F--- you; not ALL religions and not ALL "preachers"
Have some discretion with your little hatefest. I'm going to spend this weekend with members of my church working with a local food bank. Republicans are invited, but we're not expecting any. You can come too, if you're not too busy sitting on your hateful ass.
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