SANTA ANA, Calif. — The granddaughter of the late Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) Founder Paul Crouch has filed a lawsuit in federal court, alleging that her uncle Matt Crouch, who now serves as vice president of programming at the network, threatened her with a gun after she was fired for speaking against what she believed was the improper handling of finances.
Brittany Koper, the daughter of Paul Crouch, Jr., had been promoted to the office of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of TBN in July 2011, and a month later was also appointed the corporate treasurer. But Koper says that soon after accepting the position and becoming familiar with the use of the organization’s finances, she realized she that something was terribly wrong.
“Koper learned through specific instructions from Defendant Trinity Broadcasting, Defendant Jan Crouch, Defendant Matthew Crouch, and Defendant John Casoria that the requirements of Plaintiff Brittany Koper’s new job included active participation in numerous illegal schemes that were disclosed to Plaintiff Brittany Koper following her promotion,” her husband Michael wrote in a new lawsuit filed on Jan. 29.
Koper filed her first legal complaint in 2012, claiming donations were being used by TBN officials for personal pleasure and that her job was to “find ways to label extravagant personal spending as ministry expenses.”
“The nature of these illegal activities involved the systematic diversion of Defendant Trinity Broadcasting’s charitable assets through unlawful distributions to Defendant Trinity Broadcasting’s directors through numerous channels,” the latest suit continues. “The magnitude of these unlawful and related financial schemes uncovered by or disclosed to Plaintiff Brittany Koper is on the order of $100 million.”
Koper says that she spoke to TBN officials—her family members—about her concerns and urged proper reporting and handling of finances, refusing to participate in the schemes. Two months after accepting the position of CFO, she and her husband and father were all fired.
But Koper states that during a meeting about the matter, her uncle, Matthew Crouch, threatened her with a gun.
“When questioned about the termination, Defendant Matthew Crouch began tapping the firearm he had brought to the meeting and asked Plaintiff Brittany Koper what she thought would happen when she wrote a memo to the board critical of Defendant Matthew Crouch’s financial improprieties,” her lawsuit alleges. “Defendant Matthew Crouch continued tapping the gun he was holding to ensure that Plaintiff Brittany Koper recognized the lethal threat being made.”
“Matthew Crouch threatening Plaintiff Michael Koper and Plaintiff Brittany Koper with a loaded gun put them in fear that Defendant Matthew Crouch would physically harm them,” it outlines.
Although Koper first filed suit against TBN in 2012, her new lawsuit now claims that the confidential communications that she had with officials during that meeting were recorded, manipulated by editing and disclosed without her consent.
Attorneys for TBN have claimed in the past that it was instead Koper who committed wrongdoing, as she had allegedly taken $1.3 million from the network, but returned $500,000. Koper has acknowledged that she took out loans from TBN, but with permission, and had worked out a repayment schedule.
“They’re just trying to divert attention from their own crimes,” attorney Cody May told reporters in 2012, denying that the Crouch family had committed any wrongdoing in the handling of network finances. He instead asserted that the ministry has a “track record of sound financial and personal integrity by TBN and its founders.”
A jury trial has been requested in the matter. The late Paul Crouch once stated during a broadcast with his son, Matt, “God help anyone who would try to get in the way of TBN, which was God’s plan. I have attended the funerals of at least two people who tried.”