WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and other top officials of the PTL television ministry received almost $15 million in excessive compensation from the PTL television ministry between 1981 and 1987, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
The Bakkers alone received at least $10.86 million from PTL during that period, but only $1.5 million could be considered reasonable compensation, the IRS said. The remaining $9.36 million was excessive, the IRS said.
The IRS, in documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, said the ministry's top officials received $14.86 million in what it considered excessive compensation for those years.
The IRS, which filed its report in support of its argument for revocation of PTL's tax-exempt status, said the "amounts paid to or assets transferred to or for the benefit of Jim Bakker more nearly resemble the distribution by a wholly owned corporation of its net earnings as a dividend to its shareholder rather than as a compensation for services actually provided."
R. Bradford Leggett, a lawyer who is the counsel for the PTL trustee, told the Winston-Salem Journal on Thursday that the Bakkers collected the excessive pay and benefits without the approval or knowledge of the PTL board.
The IRS said the board did not always know what was going on, but said it was the board's responsibility to see that the ministry operated in a way consistent with its tax-exempt status.
The ministry filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in June.
Judge Rufus Reynolds issued a preliminary injunction last month that prevents the IRS from revoking PTL's tax-exempt status. The IRS claims PTL owes $62 million or more in taxes from June 1983 to June 1987.
Besides the Bakkers, other PTL officials who received excessive compensation, according to the IRS, were:
David A. Taggart, Bakker's administrative aide. He received $2.7 million from 1984 until 1987, which the IRS said was $2.26 million more than he was worth.
The Rev. Richard W. Dortch, the PTL executive director. He got $1.25 million, which the IRS said was $754,909 more than he should have.
The IRS said the PTL board met 23 times from June 1, 1983, through March 18, 1987. In 13 of the meetings, the board approved bonuses for Jim Bakker.
In 12 meetings, it approved bonuses for Tammy Bakker, and in seven meetings, it approved bonuses for Dortch.
The board did not specify the amount of the bonuses.
Those amounts were added to the board's minutes sometime later, the report said. In fiscal 1987 alone, Jim Bakker got bonuses totaling $900,000. Tammy Bakker and Dortch each got $250,000.
Jim Bakker resigned from PTL last March after confessing a sexual tryst with a former church secretary; he was later defrocked by the Assemblies of God church for adultery and "alleged bisexual activity."
PTL stands for Praise the Lord or People That Love.