TBN Execs Threatened Founder's Granddaughter With Gun, Fired Her for Refusing to Skim $100M of Charitable Assets, Lawsuit Claims
Brittany Koper, a granddaughter of Paul Crouch Sr., founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network, the world's largest Christian network, alleged in a lawsuit filed Thursday that top bosses in the organization threatened her life with a gun and fired her and her husband, Michael, after she refused to illegally funnel some $100 million of charitable assets to their personal accounts.
"The nature of these illegal activities involved the systematic diversion of defendant Trinity Broadcasting's charitable assets through unlawful distributions to defendant Trinity Broadcasting's directors through numerous channels. The magnitude of these unlawful and related financial schemes uncovered by or disclosed to plaintiff Brittany Koper is on the order of $100 million," alleges the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court Central District of California.
The document lists Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana, which also does business as Trinity Broadcasting Network; International Christian Broadcasting, which also does business as Heroes Under God; Matthew Crouch, Brittany's uncle; Janice Crouch, TBN's senior vice president, board member and wife of the-late Paul Crouch Sr. who died in 2013; and John Casoria, Brittany's cousin, as defendants.
"Plaintiff Brittany Koper and plaintiff Michael Koper were terminated by defendant Trinity Broadcasting because they refused to participate in the unlawful activities demanded by defendant Trinity Broadcasting's directors and senior executive defendant John Casoria, and for making reports of those unlawful activities," the suit claims.
The Kopers' firing came just months after Brittany was promoted from her job as TBN's director of human resources in July 2011 to also become the company's chief financial officer, director of finance and corporate treasurer. Michael Koper served as corporate secretary for companies affiliated with Trinity Broadcasting.
According to the lawsuit, shortly after these promotions, "John Casoria disclosed specific details concerning defendant Trinity Broadcasting's financial affairs to plaintiff Brittany Koper."
She was also given full access to company records and later learned that she was promoted out of nepotism.
"Brittany Koper learned from defendant Trinity Broadcasting's board of directors and defendant John Casoria that [she] had been chosen for the promotion to defendant Trinity Broadcasting's head of finance because the directors needed somebody 'within the family' that they could trust to keep defendant Trinity Broadcasting's financial 'skeletons' safely in the 'closet,'" notes the suit.
Shortly after September 1, 2011, when Paul Crouch Sr. suffered congestive heart failure and was hospitalized, the suit alleges that Brittany, her husband, and her father, Paul Crouch Jr., learned that they were fired because of the alarm they made about the financial improprieties.
During a meeting about the firings later on, the suit alleges that Matthew Crouch threatened Brittany with a gun.
"When questioned about the termination, defendant Matthew Crouch began tapping the firearm he had brought to the meeting and asked plaintiff Brittany Koper what she thought would happen when she wrote a memo to the board critical of [his] financial improprieties. Defendant Matthew Crouch continued tapping the gun he was holding to ensure that plaintiff Brittany Koper recognized the lethal threat being made," the suit explains.
In a YouTube clip posted in 2012 Matthew Crouch is seen having a conversation with his late father about people attacking TBN, and warned that God would deal with the organization's detractors.
"You know what's funny dad? There have been a few attempts in TBN history to upset TBN, to stop TBN, to … there have been a few fools in the 38, 39 year history coming upon 40 years, and you know what? Any attempt at stopping TBN — they have no idea who they are actually pushing into the corner," said Matthew Crouch. "You and mom get pushed in the corner, God help you. That's a lesson I've learned from you. Seriously."
"God help anyone who would try to get in the way of TBN which was God's plan. As I have attended the funeral of at least two people who tried," replied the late Paul Crouch Sr.
Read the complete lawsuit below: