Jim Bakker, founder-president of the PTL Network, has been warning viewers that his North Carolina-based international Christian television enterprise is in danger of going under.
PTL has accumulated more than $13 million in debts, and about $6 million of its accounts were past due last month, according to a network official in Charlotte. Hundreds of calls have poured in from creditors, said the source, and some suppliers of books, Bibles, and other goods served notice that they will send no more shipments until they are paid.
In early November, the management was a weekend late in scraping together enough money to meet the biweekly payroll of $250,000 for some 800 employees, the first such delay in the five-year history of PTL. (Workers got their second paycheck of the month on time, but cash flow reportedly was still tight.)
A contractor has stopped work on PTL’s proposed $100 million headquarters and educational complex known as the Total Living Center: The contractor was owed $2.5 million—$500,000 of it long overdue.
So far, only a camp and conference center have been completed on the 1,400-acre site, which is located just across the state line in Fort Hill, South Carolina. The site was purchased for $1.6 million last year amid clashes between PTL and state and local officials over taxes and fund-solicitation registration.
New studios, a university campus, and a retirement village are among the planned facilities. In the meantime, the 300 students in the entering class of PTL’s Heritage University, along with the 300 students from another PTL school for grades kindergarten through twelfth grade, are meeting in temporary quarters in Charlotte. (The university presently offers a two-year undergraduate program ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more