Jump directly to the content

NYC Pastors Repay $1.2 Million Diverted from 9/11, Hurricane Katrina Donations

Husband and wife agree to reimburse church after using funds 'as their personal bank.'
NYC Pastors Repay $1.2 Million Diverted from 9/11, Hurricane Katrina DonationsCourtesy of the National September 11 Memorial Museum

[Update: A Journey Through NYC Religions offers more context on Keyes and his church, including its significance in the Pentecostal movement and its efforts at racial reconciliation.]

Pastors Carl and Donna Keyes have agreed to repay their New York City church $1.2 million after an ongoing Associated Press investigation found they had spent funds raised for 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina victims instead upon themselves.

The husband and wife settled an attorney general probe Wednesday, the Associated Press reported today.

CT previously explored how Glad Tidings Tabernacle, an Assemblies of God church that "started Pentecostalism in New York in 1907" (according to A Journey Through NYC Religions), became instrumental in relief work directly following 9/11 as thousands of dollars and hundreds of volunteers poured into the church located just 2.5 miles from Ground Zero.

Now, on the same day that President Obama dedicated the 9/11 Memorial Museum, news broke that Keyes and his wife have agreed to pay back money given to their charities—including Urban Life Ministries and Aid for the World—that they had used to build a farmhouse in New Jersey among other personal expenses.

"Carl and Donna Keyes and [former Glad Tidings executive director] Mark Costantin abused the trust of their congregants and used Glad Tidings Tabernacle as their personal bank," said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. In New York, it is illegal for heads of nonprofits or religious organizations to take loans from their organizations.

The agreement prohibits Carl and Donna Keyes and Costantin from holding any leadership positions at New York nonprofits or religious corporations, but does allow Donna Keyes to continue on as senior pastor at Glad Tidings.

Costantin agreed to pay back nearly half a million dollars to Glad Tidings, money he owes for spending $1.2 million in loans—some of which paid for the mortgage on his house as well.

As well as recounting the mismanagement of church and charity funds, the AP also reported that Keyes "embellished stories about relief work he performed in New York in the months of the 9/11 attacks. In some cases, he took credit for things that other people had done."

CT regularly reports on church fraud, including how fraudbuster Barry Minkow cheated his own church out of $3 million, and how a YWAM leader swindled friends, family, and missionaries out of millions of dollars.

Posted:May 15, 2014 at 4:50PM
Gleanings aggregates what others are reporting. Learn more.

Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article.
Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or .
or
Subscribe
or
Recent Posts
Mosul's Last Christians Flee Iraq's Hoped-For Christian Stronghold
(UPDATED) Historic community comes to 'a real end' after ISIS ultimatum tells Christians to convert, pay tax, or die.
China May Free Gao Zhisheng, Christian lawyer, on Aug. 7
More than 151,000 signed petition for his release.
New Movies to Highlight Friendship Between Creators of Narnia and Middle Earth
As Hollywood works its way through dramatizing the fantasy novels, several hope to tell a more historical tale of real-world friendship.
Muslim Sues Kenya's Catholic Bishops for Discrimination
Bishops sued as they lobby for peace amidst coastal violence.
Christianity Today
NYC Pastors Repay $1.2 Million Diverted from 9/11, Hurricane Katrina ...