Suspicious Financial Dealings and Sexual Abuse at Christian Camp

MinistryWatch recently reported, “An analysis of the financial statements by MinistryWatch, with the assistance of the Dallas-based Trinity Foundation, reveals what the Trinity Foundation calls a ‘suspicious’ pattern of self-dealing between Kanakuk and founder ‘Coach’ Joe White and his family.

Kanakuk Ministries is one of the largest Christian camps in the United States.  Each summer, it serves more than 20,000 children from around the country.  Its fiscal year 2017 revenue topped $35-million.”

Self-dealing occurs when non-profit executives operate a for-profit company which does business with the non-profit organization. This is not illegal unless the for-profit company excessively profits off the non-profit entity.

Self-dealing may represent a conflict of interest. Independent board members should carefully vet such transactions and only approve them if the costs are based on competitive, fair market prices, which Kanakuk Ministries claims to have done.

Kanakuk Ministries rented property from Kukorp LLC and K-Land One LLC of which both are owned by White family members. Kanakuk Ministries also provided a $310,000 loan to Kukorp.

The MinistryWatch investigation revealed, “If you add up all these numbers, Kanakuk Ministries paid the Whites, or entities wholly owned by the Whites, $572,132 in 2017.”

MinistryWatch has published two articles concerning sex crimes allegedly committed at Kanakuk Ministries.

* Website Documenting History of Sexual Abuse at Kanakuk Kamps Goes Live

* Knew of Abuser’s Behavior At Least 6 Years Before Finally Firing Him

MinistryWatch reported, “A civil complaint alleges that there were at least 57 victims, but the prosecutor in his case estimates that the real number could be in the ‘hundreds.'”

Kanakuk Ministries was not on our radar until Warren Cole Smith, president of MinistryWatch reached out with questions. In fact, that is how many of our investigations begin: A journalist, concerned donor, church member or employee calls or emails us with questions or tips.

According to an Association of Certified Fraud Examiners 2020 report, “43% of occupational frauds were detected by a tip.”

If you have a question or inside information about a ministry or church, please share it with us. We are especially interested in tips about fraud (which involves deception – and we are not accusing Kanakuk Ministries of fraud), theft, abusive behavior or excess (such as extravagant spending on homes, vehicles, clothing and private jets).

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