February 17, 2012
TBN Embroiled in 'Sordid' Family Lawsuit
Granddaughter alleges over wrongful termination, threats. Both sides allege misappropriated funds.
The granddaughter of Trinity Broadcasting Network founders Paul and Jan Crouch has accused some of the network’s directors of illegally distributing “charitable assets” worth more than $50 million for their personal use.
Brittany B. Koper, the daughter of Paul Crouch Jr., was TBN’s chief financial officer until last September. She says she was wrongfully fired after she refused to cover up the alleged distribution scheme.
The allegations are not against TBN itself, but against Koper’s former attorneys from Davert & Loe, who have also done legal work for TBN. She has accused them of breach of fiduciary duty, professional negligence, and other transgressions.
“Her assertions are outright fiction and wholly without merit,” Douglass S. Davert, one of the attorneys named in the suit, told The Orange County Register. ”The allegations are defamatory and to the extent they get printed we are going to defend ourselves vigorously.”
Colby May, spokesperson for TBN, told Pat Robertson’s CBN News that the assertions are “a bold faced lie.” The fact is that Ms. Koper has confessed several different times to embezzling money, he said. "She and her husband, basically, in the dark of night up and moved to New York [after leaving TBN].
The Orange County Register reported that Davert & Loe had filed a similar lawsuit against Koper and her husband last October. They accused the Kopers of forging documents and misappropriating nearly $400,000 in funds, but the suit was dismissed without settlement in January. Tymothy MacLeod, Koper’s attorney, said the suit was a preemptive attempt to discredit Koper.
“It’s kind of a sordid affair,” he told the paper. “Many layers. But at the heart is the wrongful termination. She was terminated for insider whistle blowing.”
Additionally, the suit claims TBN officials threatened Koper at a hearing regarding the reasons for her firing. “When questioned about the grounds for termination, Matthew Crouch, a director at Trinity Broadcasting, began tapping the firearm he had brought to the meeting and asked Ms. Koper what she thought would happen when she wrote a memo to the board critical of Matthew Crouch’s financial improprieties,” the suit says. “Matthew Crouch continued tapping the gun he was holding to ensure that Ms. Koper recognized the lethal threat being made.”
Last October, Paul Crouch Jr. left his role as vice president and chief of staff at TBN to join The World Network as director of project development.