Paul Crouch, the televangelist and founder of Trinity Broadcasting, the largest Christian broadcasting network, has died at age 79.
Crouch died in his Orange County, California home Saturday. He had been suffering from degenerative heart disease for over 10 years, which was the cause of his death.
Trinity Broadcast Network reported in October that Crouch had become sick and was taken to a Dallas hospital while visiting the network’s facility in Colleyville, Texas. He later returned to California for continued treatment of “heart and related health issues.”
He and his wife Janice Wendell Bethany “Jan” Crouch started the evangelical giant on the heels of the “Assemblies of God” with Jim and Tammy Fae Bakker.
Since its inception, there have been financial scandals of huge proportions.
Former employees, who also happen to be relatives of the company’s founders, blew the whistle on this organizations embezzlement charges among other donation fraud. Brittany Koper, granddaughter of TBN founder Paul Crouch, claims that hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations have been spent on luxury homes and just general luxurious living.
Koper sued for wrongful termination over being fired for her spilling the beans on the financial wrongdoing.
Some of the allegations included misappropriation of funds, claiming “unlawful and unreported income distributions to Trinity Broadcasting’s directors” with “multiple jet aircrafts, including a $50m Global Express luxury jet purchased for the personal use of the Crouches through a sham loan … as well as an $8m Hawker jet aircraft purchased by Trinity Broadcasting for the personal use of director Janice Crouch.”
It also describes the purchase of “multiple motor vehicles, including a $100,000 motor home purchased by Trinity Broadcasting as a mobile residence for Janice Crouch’s dogs.”
In an interview with the Orange County Register Koper said, “I don’t want to sound nuts, but God uses people to different ends, and he’s using me to expose this. He doesn’t want the money-changers in his house anymore. God is using me to clean house and get TBN into the hands of someone who will make sure it’s run properly.”
Koper and her husband were also accused of taking money that didn’t belong to them.
The Crouches dismissed the allegations, and their attorney said the network’s spending was in line with its mission to spread the gospel throughout the world.
He was survived by his wife and their two sons, Matthew and Paul Jr. TBN continues strong.