The Internal Revenue Service declared in court papers yesterday that the ill-starred PTL television ministry may owe as much as $82 million in back taxes -- some $21 million more than the ministry's estimated total debt. The documents, filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Columbia, S.C., also objected to the ministry bankruptcy reorganization plan, saying it failed to take adequate account of the government's tax claim.
The ministry filed for reorganization in June after founder Jim Bakker resigned amid a sex scandal involving former church secretary Jessica Hahn. The ministry is believed to have about $170 million in assets.
Meanwhile Bakker, defrocked by the Assemblies of God denomination, is now claiming new credentials from the Faith Christian Fellowship International, a charismatic church based in Tulsa.
Bakker's agent, Jeff Franklin, said the former evangelist has a lot of friends in the Faith Christian church and has been close to it for 25 years, but doesn't know when he'll officially return to the pulpit. "The only thing he's doing right now is putting his life back together," Franklin said.
Dancer Ustinov Suffers Leg Injury Russian dancer Andrei Ustinov, who defected two months ago from the Moscow Ballet while on tour in the United States, tore a muscle in his left leg Thursday, forcing him to miss yesterday's opening of "The Nutcracker" in Dallas. The debt-ridden Dallas Ballet, which now boasts Ustinov's membership, considers "The Nutcracker" its biggest moneymaker, and was counting on the dancer to bring in additional ticket revenue and help salvage the failing troupe.
Ustinov was scheduled to dance in seven of 19 performances of the ballet, rotating with four other soloists, but will now rest for five days first. The company is $1.8 million in debt, but a consulting firm has volunteered to devise a plan to help return the dance troupe to solvency.
Sinatra Jr. Claims Self-Defense Frank Sinatra Jr. says he was only defending himself when he pushed away a former girlfriend in a Houston nightclub last year. The singer is being sued for $1 million by Charmain St. Cyr, who claims the incident caused her to fall backward and injure her left shoulder. Sinatra testified in Houston Thursday that he met St. Cyr, 43, in 1985 and later "became intimate" with her once. But he said the relationship soon went sour and St. Cyr began calling his home repeatedly, leaving threatening messages. When she confronted him before his performance in Houston in July 1986, he said, they came "nose to nose." He said he pushed her away at arm's length because he could not see both her hands, and felt threatened.
Chaplin's Hat & Cane Auctioned Entertainer Charlie Chaplin's trademark hat and cane sold at auction in London yesterday for $148,500 to a Danish buyer. An anonymous telephone bidder paid $69,300 for Chaplin's boots.
Jorgen Strecker said he and two business partners plan to display the hat and cane behind glass at the Scala entertainment center, which is under construction in Copenhagen.
Although Chaplin used several hats and canes in his films, his studio manager, Alfred Reeves, believed the ones sold yesterday were Chaplin's favorites.
Betty Ford Leaves Hospital Former first lady Betty Ford headed home yesterday after several days of hospital treatment at the Eisenhower Medical Clinic in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Ford had been suffering from an allergic reaction to an antibiotic taken after her quadruple-bypass surgery Nov. 20.