COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A new reorganization plan touted as a way to unite PTL creditors and contributors in rescuing the television ministry from its $60 million debt was filed yesterday amid fresh squabbles.
The plan, which divides the PTL ministry and Christian theme park into profit and nonprofit corporations, is similar to the one offered by the Rev. Jerry Falwell and his former management team.
The creditors and court-appointed partners' committee took the lead in drafting a plan to reorganize PTL after Falwell and the rest of the PTL board quit Oct. 8 after a decision by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Rufus Reynolds to consider a competing reorganization plan.
The introduction to the new plan, filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, referred to struggles for control between Falwell and exiled PTL founder Jim Bakker, saying "PTL cannot survive if a so-called 'holy war' is allowed to continue."
Meanwhile, outgoing PTL lawyer Roy Grutman accused the bankruptcy court's independent examiner, Billy Robinson, of professional misconduct during yesterday's court hearing.
Grutman introduced a transcript and tape he said proved that Robinson was not impartial, as required by law, but worked against Falwell.
On the tape, the ministry's largest single creditor, Roe Messner, is said to tell a major PTL contributor, Deborah Watkins, that Robinson "is not for Falwell." The tape also has a man that Watkins identified as Messner saying that a reorganization plan the creditors were working on would allow Bakker's return.
Robinson said Grutman's accusation is "ridiculous" and Grutman and his associates have suffered "a high-profile loss" that they were trying to blame on someone else.
After making his comments, Grutman asked to be removed as the lawyer of record for PTL, saying he "had no one left to represent," and Reynolds granted the request.