The co-founder of the world's largest Christian evangelical television ministry has been linked in FBI files to the Mafia, gun running, narcotics, money laundering, anti-Semitism, white supremacism, and other activities around the world.
The FBI was investigating Paul Crouch, the co-founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). Crouch, who died last year at the age of 79, was one of the world's first "televangelists." Crouch and his wife, Jan Crouch, first began their "ministry" by renting time on a local Canadian TV station, and grew their "ministry" into TBN, a multi-million dollar international TV network which the co-founded with the now infamous grifter, Jim Bakker, and his wife, Tammy Faye Bakker.
The New York Times in 2012 reported on the TBN founders who were at the forefront of the so-called "prosperity gospel," noting that in 2010 alone they took in $93 million in donations through their "ministry."
Now, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request, investigative journalism site MuckRock "reveals the laundry list of Crouch’s activities the FBI was monitoring or even investigating."
Among the more interesting revelations is the claim that the FBI's "reports accuse Crouch and his partners as being motivated by 'anti-semitic and white supremacist,' beliefs."
In 1997 the FBI labeled Crouch "an anti-semitic, white supremacist" -- but once they identified him as a religious figure they "conducted no further investigation."
The FBI file also states that "Paul Crouch, along with Reverend Earl Paulk, [redacted] and Oral Roberts were anti-Semitic and white supremacists. Crouch and the others were supposedly receiving funds from the PLO to 'run guns.'"
MuckRock reports that "the FBI and IRS were working closely with the Italian GDF, essentially their Internal Revenue Service, to fully investigate Crouch’s foreign and domestic holdings."
Apparently as soon as word got out that Crouch and TBN were in the money laundering biz, the Italian mob decided they wanted in. The file mentions phone contact between TBN and the Sons of Italy Lodge in the Bronx, NY. You might be thinking that this is pretty shaky evidence to suggest Crouch was in contact with the mob, but considering the fact that the phone record was included in a subsection of the infamous Bronx mobster Vincent “Chin” Gigante’s FBI file, it’s pretty clear that the FBI was drawing some kind of connection. This probably didn’t make the GDF too happy either.
There is a possible link reported to a federal drug and money laundering investigation as well.
"Other sketchy phone calls that went in and out of TBN over the years were from a Hungarian computer programmer whom TBN sponsored for U.S. citizenship, and phone calls from a number in Omaha to the TBN line which were documented in a separate FBI narcotics transfer investigation," MuckRock charges. "Maybe someday all those little white redactions will be peeled away and we’ll know exactly what Crouch was up to."
The complete, albeit redacted, FBI file can be read at MuckRock.
In 2010, The New Civil Rights Movement reported on allegations that Paul Crouch allegedly forced a male employee, Enoch Lonnie Ford, into homosexual acts.
Hat tip: Abuse Tracker