Televangelist Benny Hinn Served Lawsuit While Preaching

Norman Quintero, CEO of TeleAmerica Television Network and Senior Pastor of Iglesia Getsemani in Anaheim, California, has sued Benny Hinn, Hinn-associate Donald B. Price and publicist Ronn Torossian for defamation. Hinn was served the lawsuit while speaking during a “Miracle Service.”  The exchange can be viewed on YouTube.

In a lawsuit filed in Superior Court Orange County, California, Quintero alleges that Price published a website “to destroy Dr. Quintero’s personal reputation.” According to the lawsuit, “The Website states, or at least implies, that Dr. Quintero has been convicted on criminal charges. The statement is false.”

While the offending website is now offline, a backup copy of the website can be viewed at the Internet Archive.

Price, a loyal officer at Benny Hinn Ministries, also runs eMinistries Consulting and Family Altar of the Air.

Meanwhile, the lawsuit lacks many details on Hinn’s alleged role in the defamation.  Hinn’s alleged role will probably surface during court testimony.

The court battles began in 2021, with Price suing Quintero in Dallas County Court “for tortious interference with contract, tortious interference with prospective contract, defamation, and business disparagement, stemming from a failed real estate transaction,” as one court filing summarizes the case.

The case took a quick detour in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas before being remanded to the lower court because of a question about Quintero’s residency.

However, the court may have questioned the wrong person’s residency. Price’s lawsuit says, “Plaintiff, Donald B. Price, is an individual residing in Dallas County, Texas.”

Trinity Foundation investigators, which are based in Dallas, searched Dallas County Appraisal District and found zero evidence of Price residing in Dallas County. Why would Price live in Dallas, when his “ministry” Family Altar of the Air owns a 14,500 square-foot mansion worth $6 million a short distance away in Collin County?

Family Altar of the Air also owns a Florida mansion worth over $4 million.

Just how many homes does Price and his organizations own? Is this good stewardship?

Perhaps these “ministry” leaders should sell an extra home to fund their ministry rather than rely on the generosity of donors.

Missing Money: $544,817 Disappeared from Juanita Bynum Ministries


Missing money is a big red flag for investigators. So, let’s examine the Form 990s filed by televangelist Juanita Bynum’s new non-profit organization which was incorporated in 2016.

But first, a math quiz: Zero minus zero equals …

For 2016, The Juanita Bynum II Ministry Inc (That’s the official ministry name) reported zero total assets and zero liabilities. Subtracting zero from zero yielded an amazing answer: $163,854 in net assets.

What happened to net assets in 2017? They disappeared.

For 2017, the ministry reported total revenue of $383,272 and total expenses of $242,450 resulting in a surplus of $140,822 which disappeared with the net assets reported from the previous year.

For 2018, the ministry reported total revenue of $639,280 and total expenses of $399,139 resulting in a surplus of $240,141 which also disappeared.

At the end of 2018, the non-profit organization reported zero net assets.

The IRS should conduct an audit to determine where the $544,817 in unreported surpluses went.

Zero Accountability

Another troubling issue was noticed while reviewing the 990s. On page one of each 990, the ministry reports zero board members. There is zero accountability for the organization.



Time to Review Church Budgets


With the arrival of the year 2023 in two months, that means many church elders and board members will soon be voting to approve church budgets.

Bob Santy, Executive Pastor of Operations at Sunridge Community Church in Temecula, California, recommends that churches finalize a budget two months before the church fiscal year.

Budgets reveal church priorities. Here are several critical questions that can guide a church leader on voting to approve a church budget. The same questions can also help concerned donors evaluate their financial support for a church:

Discipleship: When Jesus gave the Great Commission to His followers, Jesus told them to make disciples. This is the purpose of the church. Is the church effectively making disciples? If the church is declining, does the church need new leadership or to change its financial priorities by investing more in discipleship programs?

Program Services: How much does the church spend on its stated mission? By subtracting administrative and fundraising expenses, a concerned donor can determine how much is spent on program services.

Salaries: According to executive search firm Vanderbloemen, “The average church uses 52% of the church budget on compensation.” Often the highest paid church employee is the senior pastor. Is the pastor paid too much? Does the pastor receive an outrageous housing allowance? If the senior pastor were paid less, would the church be able to hire another employee? Are the church salaries reasonable?

The IRS website asks an important question: “How do we know whether the compensation we’re paying to our officers and key employees is reasonable?” The answer: “Reasonable compensation is the value that would ordinarily be paid for like services by like enterprises under like circumstances.”

Transparency: Is the church refusing to disclose big ticket expenses? If a  church refuses to disclose pastor salaries, there might be excessive compensation.  If the church has been sued, is the church disclosing attorneys’ fees?

Donor responsibility: In response to the infamous Jim Bakker/PTL scandal, Congress held a hearing in 1987. Pastor D. James Kennedy testified, “I would think that if a person is going to give money to something, that they have … a responsibility to learn where it is going.”

Donor responsibility should serve as a check to prevent the church from straying from its mission to evangelize the world, make disciples, help the poor, the fatherless, the stranger and the widows. If the church primarily operates as a social club for its members, then donors should take their money elsewhere.

Nepotism: Ministry Family Members Compensated Over $3 Million

Most evangelical Christians have never heard of “prophet” Chuck Pierce and his “family business” Glory of Zion International. Pierce is a widely respected individual among charismatic and Pentecostal Christians who believe that God is raising up a new generation of prophets to guide the church.

This respect is not warranted. Two huge red flags, nepotism and excessive compensation, in Pierce’s ministry should raise important questions for donors.

According to the ministry’s latest Form 990 which recently became public, seven Pierce family members received $3,779,930 in compensation and independent contractor payments from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.

(Photo: Spreadsheet of Pierce Family compensation)

In the past four years, Chuck Pierce has been compensated more than $5 million.

By operating as a ministry, Glory of Zion International exploits a loophole in the tax code. Non-profit executives who serve as ministers or paid as independent contractors are not subject to an excise tax on compensation of more than $1 million.

(Photo: Page 5, Line 15 of 2020-21 Form 990)

Who determined how much each of the Pierces are paid? This information is not disclosed to the IRS. It is possible that Chuck Pierce determines his own salary.

(Photo: Schedule J of 2020-21 Form 990)

Normally, when a non-profit organization pays an executive more than $1 million, the organization would rely upon a compensation study to justify a large salary which would then be approved by the board. Three of eight voting board members are from the Pierce family.

Out of the six highest paid employees, four are family.  Nepotism is a widespread problem in megachurches and religious media ministries. Church members and ministry donors should hold religious leaders to higher ethical standards. Nepotism and excessive compensation  in ministries should serve as red flags for donors to avoid.




Trinity Foundation Investigation Update:  Long Distance Ministry



((Photo: Pictured is Joel Osteen’s Texas residence. Joel Osteen’s 2nd home is located in Newport Coast, California, 1,175 nautical miles away from Houston where he pastors Lakewood Church.)

One of our goals at Trinity Foundation is to engage in explanatory journalism.

According to Wikipedia, “Explanatory journalism or explanatory reporting is a form of reporting that attempts to present ongoing news stories in a more accessible manner by providing greater context than would be presented in traditional news sources.”

We seek to explain the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How questions.

After publishing an article in February about million-dollar pastor mansions, we continued to perform property searches and have uncovered many examples of pastors living in luxury.

Several patterns were observed during this investigation. We noticed pastors acquiring homes hundreds of miles from their churches. How can these pastors effectively serve a congregation when they live so far away?

Some pastors lead churches in different states, traveling by jet between multiple homes. Is this practice good stewardship?

Our article about Long Distance Ministry will be published next week. These investigations take time and money. We subscribe to various databases to conduct nation-wide property searches.

Today, September 22nd, is North Texas Giving Day. Thousands of people are giving to favorite charities. We are thankful for all donations given to Trinity Foundation. They help us more than you will ever know.

North Texas Giving Day Support

We are a public, non-profit 501 (C) 3 organization and can only continue with your help.  You can donate here.   Please consider monthly support of our investigations.

Our finances have shrunk lately and we could use your help.


From the folks at Trinity Foundation

Are You Fed Up Yet?

In our May 2022 newsletter (article here) we suggested a simple way to curb religious fraud and excess.  It would hold moderate and large religious organizations more accountable and provide donors with more transparency allowing them to make more informed decisions.

Month after month, we show our (small) mailing list and website visitors, how much religious fraud is going on and how much donor money is being wasted on extravagant, luxurious lifestyles.

Nothing will change until the U.S. public is fed up with the disparity between religious non-profit organizations and all other non-profit organizations.  Non-profits such as the Red Cross and World Vision show the world how much and where their money goes.  Religious non-profits… well, most don’t.

It’s too easy to claim marvelous, wonderful charitable works publicly on the one hand, while wasting donor’s money on frivolities and extravagance on the other.


We dig water wells for the thirsty.  Sure you do; but what about the Perrier, Smart Water, and Champaign served to you chilled in First Class or on your private jet?

We build and finance orphanages for the fatherless.  Sure you do, but compare the mansion you live in to most orphans’ stone walls, uncomfortable cots, meager meals, and dirty bathrooms.

We feed and clothe the homeless.  You must feel good about this, but compare your daily rich diet and the expensive suits you wear as opposed to the bean and rice staples and worn hand-me-down rags of street people in your own community.

This sheep’s-clothing disguise will always wear thin and wear off, eventually exposing the insatiable, self-seeking core of corrupt religious leaders— evident for all to see.

Continue reading “Are You Fed Up Yet?”

Checkbooks, Bank Cards and Bank Statements Reveal Pastor Priorities: Pastor James MacDonald and the Ethics of Gift Giving

(Photo: PO Box and bank routing number redacted. Reimbursement check written by James MacDonald’s executive assistant Sharon Kostal.)

Note: This is the first article in a series examining financial records and receipts for pastors and religious organizations. Future articles will explore travel expenses and per diem expenses.

“It has been said, ‘Show me a person’s checkbook and I can tell you what he cares about.'” – Social Action, 1964

James MacDonald, the controversial former pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC), is attempting to restore his reputation.   In July, MacDonald posted on his website copies of checks as proof that he reimbursed (HBC) for personal expenses incurred during his time as pastor. One reimbursement check, dated December 28, 2018, was for $27,172.39!

The checks challenged a claim that MacDonald failed to reimburse the church.

MacDonald also provided monthly lists of church financial transactions revealing the cost of airline tickets, charter aircraft service and gifts to pastors.

Concerned church donors and religion reporters rarely have access to this kind of financial information.

Monthly statements disclosed that HBC and MacDonald’s media ministry Walk in the Word shared the cost of purchasing more than $1,000 of cufflinks for church employees. Other transactions included the purchase of more than $1,500 in gifts from Bloomingdales for a Greg Laurie marriage conference and $10,683.09 spent on taxidermy in the first half of 2016.

Continue reading “Checkbooks, Bank Cards and Bank Statements Reveal Pastor Priorities: Pastor James MacDonald and the Ethics of Gift Giving”

Privacy Laws Prevent Financial Transparency, Hurt Efforts to Investigate Religious Fraud

In the name of privacy, laws often protect devious administrators working inside religious non-profit organizations and churches. Journalists and concerned donors are denied access to critical government information.

Let’s look at three examples.

  • Money Trail Not Available

During the Great Depression, religious book publisher Zondervan launched a small Christian bookstore. The little retail business went through several name changes and grew into America’s largest religious bookstore chain, Family Christian Stores.

Marketplace changes, brought about by digital song downloads from Apple and book sales through Amazon, resulted in Family Christian’s sales declining.

In 2013, as Family Christian Stores reorganized to form a non-profit organization, Family Christian TR, LLC was registered in the island nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, famous for its offshore banking. Two years later, Family Christian filed for bankruptcy and the financial trust ceased operation.

Family Christian’s bankruptcy hurt numerous publishers of books, CDs and DVDs as the organization failed to pay distributors for product.

Is it possible that some revenues, which would have compensated distributers, were embezzled and then transferred to the aforementioned account as a tax haven?

Meanwhile, unconfirmed allegations of money laundering by deceased televangelists also persist.

There may exist a paper trail providing evidence of financial crimes. Banks are required to report customers making deposits of $10,000 or more in cash. However, these Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) are protected by the Bank Secrecy Act and cannot be obtained by Freedom of Information Act requests.

Congress could amend the Bank Secrecy Act to allow journalists to submit FOIA requests to the Treasury Department for SAR of deceased individuals and companies no longer in operation.

Continue reading “Privacy Laws Prevent Financial Transparency, Hurt Efforts to Investigate Religious Fraud”

After Preaching for Christians to Expect Divine Healing, Kenneth Copeland Admits Pacemaker

(Photo: Kenneth Copeland preaching on August 1, 2022)

During this year’s Southwest Believers Convention in Fort Worth, televangelist Kenneth Copeland announced that his wife Gloria would not be in attendance because of her health. Kenneth explained that early in their marriage, over 50 years ago, Gloria received a traumatic brain injury during a car accident.

Kenneth also revealed he uses a pacemaker because of an irregular  heartbeat.

These confessions are at odds with the Copelands’ theology.

For decades, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland have preached that it is God’s will to heal all Christians, but sin and unbelief prevent many healings.

These statements are easy to find in sermon videos on YouTube and in ministry articles. The documentary Suffer the Children critically examines the health and wealth gospel of the Copelands.

Continue reading “After Preaching for Christians to Expect Divine Healing, Kenneth Copeland Admits Pacemaker”

Who Can Fire the Pastor?

(Photo: Church governance models determine whether church “members”  or board members can remove a pastor or priest.)

“Who can fire the pastor?”  It’s a key question to ask when investigating the power structure of churches and ministries as a growing number of pastors adopt barriers to accountability which prevent them from being fired.

Sometimes corrupt pastors are protected by family members and yes men serving on church boards or corporation documents providing dictatorial powers.

Church articles of incorporation and church bylaws determine if church attendees can be members and if they are allowed to vote on church business.

In 2011, televangelist Eddie Long settled lawsuits with five men accusing him of sexual assault. Long did not disclose how much New Birth Missionary Baptist Church (NBMBC) spent to resolve the litigation. Concerned church attendees lacked the ability to remove the pastor from the pulpit.

Continue reading “Who Can Fire the Pastor?”