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Swaggart Audit Shows More Than $128 Million Income For 1985

May 1, 1987

BATON ROUGE (AP) _ Jimmy Swaggart Ministries made nearly $128.5 million dollars operating as a tax-exempt church in 1985, or almost a half-million dollars a day, according to the evangelical organization’s auditor.

The figures were made public in a copyright story in today’s editions of the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate

The Morning Advocate said that before the financial reports were released, ministries board member and attorney William Treeby required newspaper representatives to sign a statement saying they would not release copies to other news organizations.

For 1986, Jimmy Swaggart Ministries is estimated to have taken in $142 million, a 10.9 increase from 1985, said Jim Guinn, the Dallas-based auditor who has kept the Swaggart Ministries’ books since 1978.

In 1985, the most recent year for which audited figures are available, the ministries’ net worth was more than $111.9 million. Assets came to almost $150.4 million, the records show. Profits in this not-for-profit organization totaled almost $38.4 million.

The Swaggart ministry has not had to report under Internal Revenue Service requirements since 1979, said a spokesman with the IRS regional office in Austin, Texas.

Until 1979, the Jimmy Swaggart Evangelistic Association filed as a tax- exempt organization. Currently, the organization called Jimmy Swaggart Ministries operates as a church and is not required to file financial statements with any government agency.

The IRS has not audited the organization since 1976, and has reaffirmed the ministries’ tax-exempt status several times as it has grown.

In 1977, Jimmy Swaggart Ministries received $11 million to operate its network of 540 radio programs and 200 television programs.

Eight years later, the estimated $142 million annual income goes to support an evangelical effort in 70 countries that includes six radio stations, thousands of television programs, crusades and a new Bible college.

The ministry relies primarily on the sale of religious material and donations to generate revenue. In 1985, contributions and the sale of religious material came to more than $126.1 million, and the sale of radio broadcast time topped $2.3 million.

The ministries’ net worth in 1985 included $22.8 million in land, almost $80 million in buildings and more than $33.1 million in equipment and furnishings, including a TV and recording studio, Treeby said.

East Baton Rouge Parish assessor’s records show the ministry’s headquarters and Bible College are valued at more than $56.7 million, all exempt from property taxes.

The ministries will not release the salaries of Swaggart, his wife, Frances, son, Donnie and daughter-in-law, Debbie, who hold four of the ministries’ seven board positions. Swaggart has said publicly he is paid less than $100,000 a year.

The homes owned by the two couples, and a house owned by the ministries and rented to Swaggart’s brother and ministries Vice President Bob Anderson, are assessed at almost $2.5 million.

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