Friday, July 20, 2007

Lone sentry on the wall
How do wealthy ministries spend the millions of dollars that Americans give them? Many of them won’t say, and few donors seem to know. That’s where Rusty Leonard and Wall Watchers come in

Jamie Dean

PHILADELPHIA— Early this summer, Paul Crouch of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) wrote to supporters, telling them that the network's spring "Praise-a-Thon" was a success. For five days, Crouch and a slate of other televangelists had raised money on-air for TBN, the largest Christian television network in the world. "TBN is debt free," Crouch wrote. "Free to invest every penny into expansion to the rest of the world!"

For TBN, that means investing in broadcasting its Christian-themed programs on thousands of cable systems and more than 5,000 television stations. But it also means investing in something else: Southern California real estate.

The 34-year-old ministry based in Santa Ana, Calif., owns a slew of real estate in Southern California, as well as a mobile home park in Florida. But it's not the mobile homes that have drawn national attention. Instead, the public's gaze has fallen on a pair of TBN-owned mansions in Orange County, Calif., that are reportedly worth millions.
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