Kenneth and Gloria Copeland: Televangelist couple at center of debt controversy

Two of the most prominent faces in American televangelism, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of Fort Worth, preach the gospel of financial prosperity.

But News Eight learned some former business associates are wondering why that gospel didn’t apply to everyone in the flock.

The people who ran Affordable Homes Limited said it was just about to take off when the Copelands suddenly backed out and left tens of thousands of dollars of debt.

While limited partners like the Copelands have no financial obligation to pay the company’s debts, the question being asked by creditors is how do the Copelands later pay $20 million in cash for a jet?

Kenneth and Gloria Copeland have garnered an international following by using their television programs to preach the bible and teach the gospel of prosperity.


But three years ago, the Copeland family became 49 percent limited partners in a different kind of ministry, Affordable Homes Limited based in Irving.

It was billed as a home-building project for low income families that would quickly go nationwide.

Dennis Brewer, an attorney who represents numerous televangelists, was the Copeland’s other partner.

Lloyd Taylor, an electrical contractor from Irving, said he had the business up and running just weeks after the Copelands put up one and half million in cash.


“And I was happy to be a part of something so big and so wonderful,” he said.

Taylor said the money helped fund a warehouse full of materials where home assembly had begun.

Frankie Porter was in charge of purchasing the land, which included 40 lots in all.

“We were on top of the hill fixing to head down the backside,” Porter said.

Affordable’s 250 page website was the product of photographer and webmaster Ken Macek.


The Love Of Money
“If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, {4} he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions {5} and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. {6} But godliness with contentment is great gain. {7} For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. {8} But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. {9} People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. {10} For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
– The Bible, 1 Timothy 6:3-10 NIV

“And if you check with anybody, that was a bargain at $4,000,” Macek said.

By early 2004, with all the pieces in place, things appeared to be going well.

“So, here we have all this land,” Taylor said. “We have all this inventory. We have a truck, we have a trailer that we had made for it and then all of a sudden they wanna start shutting it down.”

Six months after the business began, Affordable Homes was closed. Taylor and most of his employees were fired.

He said none of the limited partners, Brewer or the Copelands, ever explained why.

“And the Copelands are ignoring it,” he said. “I mean, what else do I have to think? They won’t answer their calls. They won’t answer their calls. I know they are busy people, but I was busy too when I left my business and came over to start this.”

Taylor said he was left with at least $40,000 of unpaid salary and debts.

For setting up the web page, Macek said he never received a dime.

“And for these people to dump the program and then dump us, and to not even make and attempt to talk to us about getting paid,” Macek said.

Porter said he personally approached the Copelands about being stiffed his $45,000 salary.

“And that’s what kind of threw me is when I go over there and it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, oh yes brother,'” he said. “And when I come back, I get a nasty letter in the mail and then nobody will talk to you.”

News Eight talked to other creditors also owed thousands of dollars by Affordable Homes Limited.

Trophy shop owner Nikki Janes said the $354.79 she’s owed should be nothing for the Copeland family.

“[It] is just a drop in the bucket, and I’m sure his lunch expense is that much,” she said.

Brewer said the business ran out of money.

“I accept responsibility, but I desperately tried to make the thing work,” Brewer said. “…If there’s a victim in this it’s the Copelands. Kenneth and Gloria are not bad actors and they have lost an enormous amount of money.”

But Taylor said he would like the Copelands to explain some things.

One month ago, a new age rendition of Amazing Grace heralded the arrival of the Copelands newest evangelical tool.

A $20 million Cessna Citation was bought with cash donated by followers of the Copeland Ministry.

“That’s the reason that airplane’s sitting out front,” Copeland said while introducing the plane. “That’s the reason it’s paid for. Amen.”

But those still owed money from the Copelands’ failed housing limited partnership said they haven’t had much to be happy about.

“I believed in it with all my heart and it faded,” Taylor said.

A handful of creditors have either sued or threatened legal action against Affordable Homes.

And even though the limited partners are not obligated to do it, Brewer is repaying a substantial amount.

On the other hand, Macek said he had to fight lawyers for Affordable Homes in small claims court for the $5,000 he said he’s owed.

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Source

(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
WFAA TV, USA
May 3, 2006
Brett Shipp, Reporting
www.wfaa.com

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