TBN Saw Over $30 Million Drop in Total Revenue in 2012, IRS Form Shows

Trinity Broadcasting Network suffered a severe decline in total revenue for the year 2012, according to the Form 990 it filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

According to the form for the 2012 calendar year TBN – legally registered as the Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana, Inc. – had a total revenue of approximately $144 million. This contrasts with calendar year 2011, when they had a total revenue of about $176 million.

Meant as a form for nonprofits, Form 990 breaks down revenue into four categories: "Contributions and grants," "Program service revenue," "Investment income," and "Other revenue."

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The sharpest declines between 2011 and 2012 were in the "Contributions and grants" and "Investment income" categories. For the former, TBN received approximately $95.6 million in 2011; for 2012, they received about $78.3 million, or a loss of about $17 million.

Under "Investment income," TBN listed approximately $17.2 million in 2011, versus about $4.9 million in 2012, or a loss of about $12 million.

TBN's Form 990 for 2012 also contrasted with its Form 990 for 2010. That year the Christian station reported a total revenue of approximately $175.5 million.

Form 990 for calendar year 2010 reported similar numbers to 2011, with approximately $92.5 million in "Contributions and grants," $64 million in "program service revenue," and $17.3 million in "Investment income."

Founded in 1973 by Paul and Janice Crouch, TBN has weathered much controversy in recent years over allegations of questionable finances and expenditures.

As evidence, some have pointed to the lavish spending the Crouches indulged in during their time overseeing their vast televangelist empire, which by the close of 2012 still had over $831 million in total assets.

During the year the most recent Form 990 covers, TBN gained headlines for the internal issues that fell along monetary and familial lines. Erik Eckholm of The New York Times described the series of events as "an upheaval with Shakespearean echoes."

This included the legal battles between Brittany Koper, granddaughter of the late TBN co-founder Paul Crouch Sr., and the TBN enterprise after Koper was fired on the allegation of stealing $1.3 million.

Koper, former CFO of TBN, filed a lawsuit in 2012, claiming that the board of directors at the TV network illegally took advantage of more than $50 million in "charitable assets" for their own good. The lawsuit wasn't against TBN, however. It was against attorneys of Davert & Loe who do some work for TBN. Koper claimed that the attorneys advised her to falsify public financial disclosures and government records after she discovered illegal financial practices taking place.

"Ms. Koper and the two other former TBN employees also said that dozens of staff members, including Ms. Koper, chauffeurs, sound engineers and others had been ordained as ministers by TBN," reported Eckholm.

"This allowed the network to avoid paying Social Security taxes on their salaries and made it easier to justify providing family members with rent-free houses, sometimes called 'parsonages,' she said."

Despite the legal issues and drop in total revenue, TBN continues to boast on its website of being the "world's largest Christian television network."

"Across America and around the world TBN is carried by TV stations and cable systems to millions of homes," states TBN on the "About Us" part of its website.

"As a matter of fact, TBN is featured on over 5,000 television stations, over 70 satellites, the Internet and thousands of cable systems around the world. And the number continues to grow!"

TBN also recently announced that it would be partnering with Pastor Joel and Victoria Osteen for their "America's Night of Hope" event to be held at New York City's Yankee Stadium on Saturday.

"TBN has had the privilege over the past several years of partnering with Pastor Joel and Victoria Osteen to broadcast America's Night of Hope to millions of viewers," said TBN CEO Matthew Crouch in a statement released Thursday.

"From the music and testimonies to the timely message from Pastor Joel, this is an event that is impacting America and the world with hope and expectation."

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