Chronology of PTL Buildup and Scandal With AM-PTL
Undated (AP) _ Here is a chronology of the buildup, financial collapse and pending reorganization of the PTL ministry leading up to the resignations of its current leadership Thursday.
- 1978: PTL, led by the Rev. Jim Bakker, buys 1,100 acres in Fort Mill, S.C., spends $1 million on satellite time and equipment to start up PTL-The Inspirational Network.
- 1979: Heritage USA, the ministry’s theme park, opens.
- 1980: Bakker has sex with Jessica Hahn, a 21-year old church secretary from Long Island, N.Y., in a Florida hotel.
- 1985: Richard Dortch, Bakker’s second-in-command, arranges $265,000 in payments to keep Hahn silent about her encounter with Bakker.
- March 19, 1987: Bakker, a charismatic, resigns from the ministry as the story breaks about his tryst with Miss Hahn and his hush money payments. He turns the $172 million ministry over to the Rev. Jerry Falwell, a rival fundamentalist. Falwell appoints a new board virtually stripped of charismatics.
- May 6: The Assemblies of God denomination defrocks Bakker and Dortch.
- May 27: Falwell, at a board meeting, denies he hoodwinked Bakker into giving up PTL.
- June 10: The Bakkers return to Fort Mill, their first visit since January.
- June 11: Falwell announces that the U.S. Justice Department, the Internal Revenue Service and the Postal Service have launched criminal investigations of PTL’s prior managment.
- June 12: PTL files for reorganization and protection from creditors in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, saying it owes 1,400 creditors $72 million. That figure was later revised to more than $60 million.
- Aug. 21: A federal court judge empanels a 23-member grand jury in Charlotte, N.C., to investigate PTL.
- Sept. 10: Falwell fulfills fund-raising promise and takes a plunge, fully clothed, down PTL’s 52-foot water slide.
- Sept. 22: Jessica Hahn appears before the grand jury, advance copies of her interview and topless pictorial in Playboy magazine are released.
- Sept. 30: PTL’s management files a reorganization plan that would divide the ministry into non-profit and profit corporations. Creditors complain that it doesn’t pay them back quickly enough and some contributors say it doesn’t fairly compensate them.
- Oct. 7: U.S. District Judge Rufus Reynolds rules that a competing reorganization plan drafted by creditors and contributors, which could open the door for Bakker to return, can be filed in one week.
- Oct. 8: Falwell says the 10-member board, its executive officers and co- hosts of the PTL Club TV show are resigning rather than remain at the helm of a ministry that might allow Bakker back.