DUNN, N.C. -- Disgraced PTL founder Jim Bakker failed to appear Wednesday at a meeting of the Assemblies of God Church scheduled at his request to hear proof from him that he is not a homosexual.
Bakker, now living in Palm Springs, Calif., asked Assemblies of God District Superintendent Charles Cookman for the hearing to clear his name but failed to show up.
Cookman said Bakker attorney Jim Toms had called to say Bakker could not make the trip to Dunn because his wife was afraid to make the flight from California and he would not come without her.
"I know for a fact that Tammy has a terrible fear of flying and always takes medication before a flight," said Cookman. "Bakker said he did not want to attend without his wife and refused to come without her."
Bakker, defrocked by the Assemblies of God last summer, is not currently seeking reinstatement but apparently is trying to put an end to allegations that he is a homosexual -- part of the reason for withdrawing his credentials.
Meanwhile, the current PTL leadership said it was stunned that Bakker and several associates are seeking $3 million from the ministry including $1.3 million for a PTL parsonage from which Bakker was evicted last summer.
Bakker lawyer Ryan Harris said his client did not expect to get the money, but took the action "in order for us to have a legal claim in court."
Court-appointed PTL trustee David Clark said he was shocked Bakker and his former PTL cronies would seek anything from the ministry. "I am amazed at their gall," Clark said.
The claims were filed against PTL in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Columbia, S.C., where PTL is in the midst of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
Clark said he was "amazed, chagrined and somewhat angered" that Bakker would seek payment from PTL, especially in light of recent Internal Revenue Service findings that the Bakkers and their top aides collected about $11 million in salaries over the past four years.
The Bakkers claim the PTL board voted in April 1986 to transfer several parsonages to PTL's top staff over a period of years.
Other claims filed with the federal court include:
-- Bakker aide David Taggert, seeking $187,000 in wages and bonuses.
-- Former PTL executive director Richard Dortch, seeking $893,000 for a parsonage in Pineville, N.C., and $193,700 for salary and benefits.
-- Dortch's wife Mildred, seeking $1,766 for salary and vacation.
-- Richard Dortch II, the couple's son, seeking $20,000 in wages and benefits.
-- Former PTL entertainers Howard and Vestal Goodman, asking $319,000.
-- Former PTL entertainer Vi Azvedo, claiming $200,000 for a home adjacent to the Bakkers' Tega Cay parsonage.
-- Bakker executive secretary Shirley Fulbright, asking $20,835 for salary and payroll taxes.
-- Former PTL senior vice president Roger Flessing, claiming $5,850 for employment and income taxes related to travel reimbursements.