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Judge OKs PTL Plan Calling for More Donations

December 22, 1987|United Press International

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A federal judge approved a reorganization plan today that calls for supporters of PTL to dig deeper into their pockets for money to pull the scandal-plagued television ministry out of bankruptcy.

But U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Rufus Reynolds warned the plan will save PTL only if ministry partners want it to survive.

PTL owes more than $60 million to various creditors, not including $62 million the IRS is attempting to collect.

The plan calls for PTL supporters to increase giving by at least $1 million a month to repay indebtedness.

"I might say this is saving PTL--if the donors want it," Reynolds said. "If they don't want it, well, it's up to them."

Series of Problems

PTL has had nothing but trouble since founder Jim Bakker resigned over a sex scandal and the Rev. Jerry Falwell took over.

During Falwell's six-month tenure, PTL filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. But giving to the ministry--which at one time was taking in $124 million a year--continued to plummet as scandal after scandal unfolded.

Bakker was defrocked by the Assemblies of God church after admitting a 1980 sexual encounter with former church secretary Jessica Hahn; Falwell accused him of financial mismanagement and a lifetime of homosexuality, and Hahn posed topless for Playboy magazine.

Earlier this month the Internal Revenue Service came forward with a claim of up to $62 million in back taxes.

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