PTL Network founder-president Jim Bakker celebrated his thirty-ninth birthday early last month during a live broadcast of the PTL Club. His best birthday gift, Bakker told viewers, was “an even bigger miracle than I asked for”—namely, enough money to pay off debts incurred during construction of the network’s so-called Total Living Center (Dec. 15, 1978, issue, p. 41).

Bakker said the Charlotte, North Carolina-based network had gotten through the worst of its financial crisis, and he presented officials of the Laxton Construction Company with a check (of an unannounced amount) to finish payments of $2.5 million in outstanding bills. The firm had stopped construction at the 1,400-acre site last August.

The company had not resumed work last month, despite the payments, said a PTL spokesman. Reason given: “organizational restructuring” at PTL. The network’s board of directors said future construction would not take place unless there was enough money in building fund accounts to back it up. Already, $10 million has been spent on the educational-recreational-housing facility, which is located just across the state line in Fort Hill, South Carolina.

The network still owes $2 million in past due accounts, said a company spokesman. That some of a total $13 million debt (as of December) had been eliminated was due mostly to the success of a six-week fund-raising telethon, which ended in mid-December.

Bakker has blamed the network’s financial woes on mismanagement and foul-ups in the organization’s computers which, he said, resulted in the misprocessing of mail through which the organization gets its money pledges.

Bakker promised his television viewers that changes would be made to prevent future financial crises. There would be management ...

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