TBN Founders' Lavish Lifestyle Questioned

In case you missed it over the weekend, there was quite a substantial investigative story on page one of the NY Times about Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), its take on airing the “prosperity gospel,” and TBN enjoying some of that prosperity as well.

TBN is registered as a non profit, but its principals enjoy a lavish, to say the least, lifestyle. That includes his and hers mansions for the founders, Paul and Janice Crouch, in the same Newport Beach gated community. It also includes a clutch of “company houses” in desirable locales around the nation that are subject to substantial tax breaks.

TBN also owns the Orlando theme park Holy Land Experience, pictured above.

The Crouchs’ granddaughter has gone public with the company’s finances following a family rift.

Reports the Times:

In 2008 and 2009, as Mrs. Crouch began remodeling Holy Land Experience, she rented adjacent rooms in the deluxe Loews Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando - one for herself and one for her two beloved Maltese dogs and clothes, according to Mr. Clements and Ms. Koper. Mrs. Crouch rented the rooms for close to two years, they said.

Ms. Crouch was seldom without her little white dogs, pushing them in a pink stroller and keeping a costly motor home, originally purchased to serve as an office, for two years as an air-conditioned sanctuary for her pets, the two former employees said.

In Newport Beach, according to Ms. Koper, the elder Mr. Crouch sometimes traveled in a chauffeured Bentley, which TBN says is used to ferry television guests in proper style.

First-class “working dinners” are a way of life. In pending lawsuits, the Kopers say that Mr. Crouch, Mrs. Crouch and their son Matthew each ran up meal expenses of at least $300,000 per year. Mr. May, the TBN lawyer, said this was not accurate but did not offer other figures.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.