Tilton Turns His Ministry Into a Church in Legal Maneuver
DALLAS (AP) _ Television evangelist Robert Tilton said Sunday he has converted his ministry from a non-profit corporation to a full-fledged church in a legal maneuver to stop an investigation of it.
Tilton said during his televised service that the change was made to keep Texas Attorney General Dan Morales from reviewing the Word of Faith Ministries’ records.
An assistant attorney general said the change makes no legal difference. Rose Ann Reeser said Tilton must still turn over his ministry’s records to the state by Tuesday.
″It’s a move that doesn’t surprise us,″ Reeser said. ″I don’t see how it’s going to change the document request we’ve made. The attorney general’s office has a right and a duty to ensure that state statutes have not been abused.″
Tilton also is being sued by two Oklahoma widows for $60 million because the ministry sent them letters asking for cash to heal their husbands after both men had died.
Their attorney, Gary Richardson, said the ministry’s new status wouldn’t protect Tilton from liability.
The Texas attorney general and the federal government have been investigating Tilton since ABC’s ″PrimeTime Live″ reported in November that he had a mail processing company cash mailed-in contributions and ignore accompanying prayer requests.