Religion News Service, Aug. 6, 2003
(RNS) Supporters of televangelist Jim Bakker‘s former Praise the Lord ministry will get $6.54 each as the result of a class action settlement.
A 16-year-old lawsuit sought payments for the 165,000 people who joined the class action, the Associated Press reported. The plaintiffs had given $1,000 each for four-day vacation stays at a PTL resort near Charlotte, N.C., that was never constructed.
The lawyers will get $2.5 million of a $3.7 million settlement fund.
A July 24 order issued by U.S. District Judge Lacy Thornburg, based in Asheville, N.C., gives a California administrator one month to issue the checks. Former PTL accountants placed money in a settlement fund.
Thomas T. Anderson and Associates, a California-based law firm, had asked the judge for the entire settlement, saying it would be fruitless to search for all involved in the suit. Thornburg denied that request in 2002.
Bakker is on the air again with “The Jim Bakker Show,” taped in Branson, Mo.
He resigned from the Praise the Lord ministry in 1987 after admitting to an affair with a ministry secretary. He was convicted two years later of a wire and mail-fraud scheme involving the sale of more than 150,000 lifetime partnerships planned for the Heritage USA theme park in Fort Mill, S.C.
Bakker was sentenced to 45 years in prison but his term was reduced to 18 years and he served five before being paroled in 1995.