Evangelist Mel Tari, author of the best-selling book Like a Mighty Wind, has been sued for allegedly defrauding a missionary out of more than $400,000. Christine Kline, who works for Youth With a Mission (YWAM), charges in the lawsuit that she turned over a large inheritance to Tari, who promised to invest the money in a trust. Kline planned to live off the interest and spend the rest of her life in overseas missions work.
But the trust was never created, Kline charges in the suit, which has been filed in California’s Orange County Superior Court. She alleges that Tari invested much of her money in a firm called All Seasons Resorts, which has filed for bankruptcy.
Tari, reached at his home in Dana Point, California, referred all questions to his law firm, but several attempts to speak with Tari’s legal counsel were unsuccessful. According to court documents, however, Tari denies all of Kline’s charges.
Kline is a missionary in the South Pacific, but recently she has been traveling in the United States promoting her book, A Brilliant Deception, in which she chronicles her own conversion experience. She is being represented by Paul Roper, the lawyer who helped Jessica Hahn win a financial settlement in her legal dispute with Jim Bakker and the PTL television ministry.
Kline told CHRISTIANITY TODAY that she tried other means to get her money back, but Tari repeatedly reneged on promises to her. She said Tari has treated at least three other parties who invested money with him similarly.
Tari gained fame as an evangelical preacher after Like a Mighty Wind, his eyewitness account of a miraculous revival in predominantly Muslim Indonesia, appeared in 1971. At least 2.5 million copies are in print, and translations are available in ...1
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