FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: ………………Friday, August 6, 2010
Last Updated: June 9th, 2011
(Please see the addenda posted further below)
Why is Kenneth Copeland Desperate for Donor Cash?
FORT WORTH, TEXAS: Things are looking really ‘insecure’ at the high-security compound of televangelist Kenneth Copeland. Although Kenneth Copeland Ministries’ (KCM) gas well revenues are much higher, they are now scrambling to recruit donors. Why?
Kenneth Copeland boasted on January 23rd, 2008 that he is personally a billionaire. He continued, “Now don’t tell them senators about this…the last accounting of it, this has been two, three years ago…there would probably be at least another $150 million added to this, because our income last year  was over $100 million..there has been over $1.3 billion come into this ministry.” That totals $1.45 billion by 2007.
However, shortly after the Senate Finance Committee investigation and U.S. economic recession began, Kenneth Copeland started sending his children, grandchildren, and in-laws out to churches and conference around the country to rally support for KCM. Are donations down now?
Even if they are, Kenneth Copeland repeatedly stated in recent years that if ALL their donors abandoned them at once, “God” told him that “nothing” would happen because they were financially self-sufficient. But if that is true…then why is the billionaire “Godfather of Prosperity” looking desperate for cash now?
Soon after, KennethCopelandBlog.com began to publicize and document some of the probable frauds committed by KCM in early 2010. Almost immediately, there was a significant increase in Copeland family appearances on Christian television shows; and new “Behind the Mission” donor recruitment conferences were scheduled in cities around the United States. It would seem that panic was driving their expanded itinerary.
At the 2010 Southwest Believer’s “Homecoming” Convention (now occurring) they have taken the unusual step of moving their Friday morning donor recruitment service into the evening time slot. (This happens to be the most well-attended service.) They have also significantly increased the number of sessions that are being simulcast worldwide on Daystar Television from one to a whopping four.
Why such changes? Gas well revenue has been climbing rapidly. KCM has also added two more wells since 2007, and now total thirty-two.
Again, Copeland says he’s a financially “self-sufficient” billionaire. Why does he need anyone to give his ‘ministry’ a dime, even if his donations ARE down? One possibility is…
The IRS states, “All IRS section 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches and religious organizations, must abide by certain rules.” One rule that the IRS is very active in enforcing among all non-religious tax-exempt groups is the “public support test.” An organization must prove that at least one-third of their total revenues qualify as donations.
KCM’s reporting requirements are different. However, if this rule still applies to them nonetheless, then gas revenues would obviously not meet that qualification. Neither would the revenues from the Copeland Cattle Company, and their MANY other business incomes that fuel the billionaire’s $100 million budget.
So is THIS the reason why KCM seems so desperate for cash? Are they teetering on the edge of failing to meet this test? Are they afraid that another “whistle blower” might alert the IRS that they are not in compliance?
If Kenneth Copeland Ministries loses its tax-exempt status, their “church” status evaporates with it. Then Senator Chuck Grassley and the Senate Finance Committee would not need Senate subpoenas — they could just walk in and open KCM’s books.
Given the probable frauds and improprieties that KennethCopelandBlog.com has already documented — and the many other things that we plan to publish soon — KCM surely has a lot to hide from the IRS (and the Christian public). Is that why they are in such a panic for donor cash now?
Addendum 1 (posted October 5, 2010): It has come to my attention that Kenneth Copeland Ministries’ (KCM) scheduling information for the Friday services of their 2010 SWBC meeting — information upon which I based my statement within the release above that they had moved the “Increase Day” service into the evening time slot — was in conflict with KCM’s actual procedure on that day.
Within the published online scheduling data upon which I based that statement (and an additional one besides), it listed the Friday evening session as “Increase Day.” However, in another of their published schedules (provided to me by one of my researchers today) it is listed in the morning service. So in which service did it occur? The actual video archive for that day shows the “Increase Day” session being in the morning, and NOT the evening time slot. The particular researcher who checked into this for me, and who is also very knowledgeable about KCM procedures and practices, had this additional comment regarding the data she had found:
Like everything else they do – there are several different versions. See attachment – it may help or confuse further.
To see the data, simply click on these following links to see my computer screen shots. These are complete with the date/time they were taken, along with the URLs of the web pages, clearly shown:
- On this KCM.org “events” web page (the one I consulted previously), it shows “Increase Day” being in the evening time slot.
- In this BVOV.TV web page, it shows the same thing.
- However, on this BVOV.TV web page, it shows “Increase Day” being in the morning service. (Note also the slightly different URL address than the previous one.)
In short, KCM’s own data about their services was inconsistent — just like their public statements about Angel Flight 44.
How long these web pages above will remain available on the Internet from KCM I do not know. I know only that they were still available when this addendum was posted.
So again, that one statement within the press release posted above — based solely upon KCM published data — is incorrect. As we endeavor to always “provide things honest in the sight of all men” here on KennethCopelandBlog.com (see Romans 12:17; 2 Corinthians 8:21), we considered it very important that I post this corrective addendum.
Lastly, we here at KennethCopelandBlog.com stand by all the other information within the press release above and its documentation. To our knowledge, all the remainder of the statements above are true and verifiable. The only correction is the one statement based upon incorrect KCM data.
Always in Jesus,
- Rich Vermillion
End Addendum 1
(see Addendum 2 below)
Addendum 2 (posted June 9, 2011): There has been a continual meltdown of the Kenneth Copeland “Ministries” (KCM) finances since this press release was first published. This new addendum is being posted on this page to share some of the details.
Whistle-blowers have contacted us here at KennethCopelandBlog.com to inform us of issues related to the fact that the financial “Titanic” of KCM appears to be “sinking” even more quickly. According to our informants, toward the end of 2009, KCM was already millions of dollars in debt about the time Craig Atnip departed from the executive staff and moved to Georgia.
We were also informed by a whistle-blower that in March of 2010, John Copeland called a staff meeting within the KCM “chapel” building. At one point he said to the employees, “We are all family here, right? So please keep this confidential because we don’t want this getting out into the media.” John then informed them that the alleged “ministry” was about $4 million in debt. These two reports from our whistle-blowers also seems to be substantiated by KCM’s own behavior.
For example, in August of 2010, KCM drastically reduced their media budget by almost completely eliminating their Sunday BVOV broadcast. They simultaneously renegotiated many of the weekly broadcasts onto the cheapest station within that viewing area, as this whistle-blower informed us:
Yes, I am referring to the Lansing/East Lansing, MI area. I recorded BVOV every morning on WLAJ-TV here at 6:00 a.m. to watch when I got home from work at night. This week, it was replaced with infomercials. Also, this past Sunday on BVOV on another local channel, WSYM, Fox 47, there was a crawler that said that BVOV would no longer be seen on WSYM after August 29th. I’ve asked the other local stations, and I don’t find anyone picking it up, for the first time in my memory that BVOV won’t be on in our local area. It is still listed on the KCM site as being on WLAJ, but that is not accurate. I do read your blog and remembered what you had written about the sudden appearance of these “Behind the Mission” meetings, and drop in donations, and wonder if that is why BVOV isn’t being broadcast locally , at least for this Fall. Thank you for all the factual information you are providing about the Copelands in your blog. It is greatly appreciated.
And then a few days later this same whistle-blower explained:
I noticed this morning that the station that is dropping the Sunday BVOV, effective 8/29, has apparently picked up the daily broadcast on it’s station at 8:00 a.m….This is not reflected on the KCM website, and no one still has picked up the Sunday broadcast that this same network dropped.
Of course, KCM had to explain this sudden BVOV broadcast shuffle to their viewing audience. Citing unpublished “extensive surveys” of KCM’s “partners and friends,” KCM actually tried to spin this obvious cost-cutting effort as a benefit to their partners. However, this brings the following question into focus:
If (and this is a big “if”) KCM is a real Christian “ministry,” and their BVOV broadcasts are filled with genuine teaching from God’s Word, then how could they justify such cancellations as a “benefit” to their viewing audience when they are reducing the amount of “beneficial” programming that they can watch?
Obviously, they cannot. It was surely a cost-cutting effort—a fact which the relocation of their weekly broadcast to another local station also seems to attest. Gloria Copeland’s brother owns the media company that negotiates their air time purchases, and it would seem they put him on an emergency budget reduction effort in order to help save their financially sinking “Titanic.” (Rich Note: Among other things, I have a Certificate in Financial Management from Cornell University; so my analysis of KCM’s behavior is founded upon copious facts—some of which we must keep confidential in order to protect our sources—as well as upon educational expertise.)
You can read KCM’s press release “spin” on these issues by clicking on the following image:
Additionally, on September 23, 2010, KCM forced nearly two dozen veteran employees to resign. The employees are known to have ranged in tenure from as little as 8 years to as much as over 30 years of service. One of our whistle-blowers wrote:
[One woman] has worked there 21 years and just bought her first home in April [of 2010]…she is a single mom with a heart of gold…another person…was [similarly] let go – 30+ years [working for KCM].
This group of about 20 employees were all brought into the executive offices of KCM on the same day, to meet with John Copeland. Each of them were told the “reasons” they were then considered “sub standard” or “unacceptable” for employment at KCM (i.e. the trumped-up reasons why they were being forced out of employment). They were then offered four-month severance pay packages under the condition that they would sign draconian confidentiality agreements that prohibited them from talking with the media or anybody else (such as the founders of this website, KennethCopelandBlog.com). A PDF made from scanned copies of one such agreement can be downloaded by right-clicking on the following image, and saving the target file to your computer:
If you read the “terms” you will see that KCM expected them to sign away nearly every right afforded to them by the U.S. Constitution, Federal law, and Texas State laws. Understandably, the employees were experiencing a mix of shock and feelings of betrayal, coupled with fear for their own financial futures. Under such high-pressure circumstances, all the employees that we are aware of accepted the “terms” and actually signed the above agreement in order to receive four more months of pay.
The legality of such a draconian contract is certainly questionable, but what is known are the fear tactics used by KCM to pressure them into signing such an agreement: They would be “sued” by the “ministry” and forced to return the four-months severance pay, if they talked to us, the media, or anybody else, about this situation.
Adding further insult to injury, these employees were replaced and their positions were not eliminated. Almost as soon as the door hit these veteran employees on their backsides, new employees hired at roughly $8/hour stepped in to fill their shoes. In short, the higher-paid veteran employees were run out of KCM so that cheaper labor could replace them, thus cutting the KCM/EMIC payroll budget. (Of course, nobody knows if the Copelands and their family volunteered to take any pay cuts to help alleviate the payroll expenditures. However, most people knowledgeable about the situation have expressed doubt that the Copelands ever did.)
The very next day, John Copeland (who conducted the meeting in which the 20 employees who were fired) hopped into the family jet (commonly referred to as the “ministry” jet) to join his parents at an invitation-only golf tournament at the ritzy Waldorf Astoria resort. This was not a publicized event; and the Facebook posts made by a couple of people who attended seem to suggest that this was likely a fundraiser:
The references to KCM, “partners,” and explanations KCM’s “outreach,” tend to all suggest a “soft sell” tactic being used to “wine and dine” the attendees in order to raise money at this private golf tournament, held at a ritzy resort in Florida.
Thus, in summary, the following details seem to be validated and verified:
- KCM was likely about $2 million in debt by the close of 2009. (Note: KCM is known for teaching “how to live debt free” supernaturally, and they consider debt in all forms to be under “the curse of the law.”)
- KCM’s debt had increased to about $4 million by March of 2010.
- Drastic television/media budget reductions were made in August of 2010 in an obvious effort to offset budgetary shortfalls.
- Payroll expenses were cut in September of 2010 (and probably at other times also) by replacing higher-paid veteran employees with lower-wage workers. (Note: We have been informed that the veteran employees ALSO lost their retirement benefits through this action, thus reducing KCM’s retirement expenditures as well.)
- A private Waldorf Astoria golf tournament was held immediately after the axing of 20 employees, in what appears to be a fundraising effort.
- And all of the above suggests that KCM revenues through donations and product sales have fallen drastically from their 2007 high of “over $100 million” (as stated by Kenneth Copeland at the 2008 Minister’s Conference).
In short, the answer to our original question about “Why is Kenneth Copeland Desperate for Donor Cash?” seems to be quite simple: The “godfather of prosperity” is going broke…and that, very quickly.
And if the word spreads regarding these facts, then the donations and products sales will dry up even quicker, accelerating the inevitable financial collapse of KCM as their failed “prosperity gospel” becomes more and more obvious to the Christian public.
Since the Copelands and their “wolf” friends do not seem to be very enthusiastic about repenting of their multiplied lies, frauds, and heresies, then it would seem that such a collapse would certainly be best for the Body of Christ because it would eliminate at least one “wolf den” from the scene.
Always in Jesus,
- Rich Vermillion
End Addendum 2