Can you believe this ex convict, Jim? The disgraced “pastor”?
James Orsen Bakker (/ˈbeɪkər/ “baker”; born January 2, 1940) is an American televangelist, convicted fraud, a former Assemblies of God minister and a former host (with his then-wife Tammy Faye Bakker)
of The PTL Club, an evangelical Christian television program.
Born James Orsen Bakker
January 2, 1940 (age 77)
Muskegon, Michigan, U.S.
Tamara Faye LaValley
(m. 1961; div. 1992)
Lori Beth Graham (m. 1998)
Children Tammy Sue Bakker Chapman
Church Assemblies of God (1960-1988)
The PTL Club
Heritage Village Church
An accusation of rape made by his secretary led to his resignation from the ministry. Subsequent revelations of accounting fraud brought about his imprisonment and divorce. He later remarried and returned to televangelism.
Tammy Faye herself was a pice of work.
The Charlotte Observer ran exposés of PTL’s finances and management practices. PTL went bankrupt after being taken over by Lynchburg, Virginia-based Baptist televangelist Jerry Falwell, who offered to step in following the scandals in 1988.
The PTL Club’s fundraising activities between 1984–1987 were scrutinised by The Charlotte Observer newspaper, eventually leading to criminal charges against Jim Bakker. From 1984 to 1987, Bakker and his PTL associates sold $1,000 “lifetime memberships,” which entitled buyers to a three-night stay annually at a luxury hotel at Heritage USA. According to the prosecution at Bakker’s later fraud trial, tens of thousands of memberships had been sold, but only one 500-room hotel was ever completed. Bakker sold more “exclusive partnerships” than could be accommodated, while raising more than twice the money needed to build the actual hotel. A good deal of the money went into Heritage USA’s operating expenses, and Bakker kept $3.4 million in bonuses for himself.
A $279,000 pay-off for the silence of Jessica Hahn who claims Bakker and Fletcher drugged and raped her was paid with PTL’s funds to Hahn through Bakker associate Roe Messner. Bakker, who made all of the financial decisions for the PTL organization, allegedly kept two sets of books to conceal the accounting irregularities. Reporters from The Charlotte Observer, led by Charles Shepard, investigated and published a series of articles regarding the PTL organization’s finances.