The board of Creflo Dollar Ministries has apologized for an online fundraising video seeking $60 million in donations for a new private plane, saying the request caused “confusion.”
The video claimed that Dollar’s family had been endangered by mechanical problems with the ministry’s former plane, and asked 200,000 supporters of World Changer's Church International to give $300 each for a replacement.
Church officials removed the video earlier this year. But controversy over the campaign continued.
A new video is in the works and a donation request remains live on Dollar’s website, along with the apology.
“We fully acknowledge that the campaign video did not do a good job of communicating the request, and we apologize for any confusion it may have caused—it is in the process of being revamped and will be re-released when complete,” the board said in a statement. “We plan to acquire a Gulfstream G650 because it is the best, and it is a reflection of the level of excellence at which this organization chooses to operate. We, the World Changers family, so value the lives, the safety and the well-being of our pastors and leaders that we wish to provide to them the best air travel experience possible.”
Dollar was among a group of televangelists who were investigated by the Senate Finance Committee for alleged financial impropriety several years ago. That four-year investigation ended in 2011 with no penalties being assessed to the ministries involved.
The controversial televangelist was also arrested in 2012 and charged with simple battery for an incident involving his teenaged daughter. The charges were later dropped and Dollar enrolled in an anger management program.
The board’s statement about the plane included details of Dollar’s fundraising operation, which includes “3 million donors in the ministry’s global databases.”
Board members also announced that they intended to purchase a new plane in the future, and defended that decision.
“We wholeheartedly reject the notion that the ministry’s airplane project is an imposition on our community or that it somehow takes advantage of our people,” they said. “Quite to the contrary, this request is seen by our community as standard operating procedure for people of faith.”
CT previously examined a similar controversy over private jets for Jesus in Nigeria.
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