Saturday, December 21, 2013

What happened to Todd Bentley's "$13 million in the bank"?

[Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On November 25 2013] How did Todd Bentley, assuming he is being truthful, blow through $13 million Canadian? On November 4, he sent out an e-mail "Redeeming the Time" to his e-mail list. I'll likely be copying the entire e-mail as a comment on this post, in case it goes pFFFT!, but one comment of his jumps out at me. The tone of his remarks is that Todd was on the top of the world and then he crashed. But, Todd figures that God is staring him on a magnificent comeback and here's how you can tag along for the ride... Recalling the glory days, Bentley says this..." "I went from $13 million in the bank to $20 to my name. ". So, Todd, where did it go? Todd Bentley, it can be fairly said, until the end of Lakeland was either well off or mortgaged up to his eyeballs. The first article I remember seeing in one of the Abbotsford B.C. newspapers unfortunately no longer seems to be on the internet. The newspaper, located in what was then Bentley's home base, was doing a story on Bentley and how well he was doing, some time before Lakeland. The paper posed Bentley in a photo standing in front of the spiffy stand-alone headquarters of his ministry. In the accompanying story, Bentley was quoted as saying that he, through the ministry, hoped to be able to buy the Abbotsford Tradex, the city's Trade and convention building, for his ministry to use. That idea evidently fell through. Fast forward to Lakeland. After the collapse of the revival. their local paper did a story on a local church building. Buried in the story, however, was that Todd Bentley had offered to buy the church building in this story for $30 million dollars US.. We're not talking televangelist dollars, but at the time of this story, I was working with a co-worker who had worked in a bank. They said that if Bentley had "2-3 million dollars* in ready cash, that could have happened. Not $13 million perhaps, but a fait chunk of change. I also seem to recall that Bentley's ministry, during Lakeland, had been looking for a really nice house for him down there. So it is clear that Bentley, back then, had enough money to try to try to pursue various goals. But from $13 million to $20? I don't know. Back in 2010. Todd Bentley cried that he was very, very poor, and someone on Twitter called him on it. I, in turn, saw the dispute and wondered if it was possible that Todd Bentley had given S8 million to the poor, as he had said. In this post, I reported that I had found that all the money that Bentley earned in ministry up until the end of Lakeland--according to Revenue Canada-- amounted to less than $8 million Canadian, so what Bentley alleged was almost certainly impossible. I wrote then:
"I wouldn’t say that Bentley never helps the poor. It’s just that the tax returns for his ministry in Canada pretty well demonstrate that it is not plausible for Bentley to have given $8 million to the poor through his ministry given all the evangelistic work that he has done. Unless Bentley earned millions in revenue that was passed on to the poor, but never put on the Fresh Fire Ministries books, in which case Canada’s tax authorities would like a word with him."
Did Bentley have a part-time job that earned him over $5 million to make up his current $13 million in estimated losses? I don't know, but I have my doubts. So what happened to this $13 million? 1. Bentley is fudging and there was nowhere near this amount of money? [Factchecking...hurts, don't it Todd? :) ] 2. It went to his first wife Shonnah, in the divorce? [I doubt it. But that could explain why Todd's various versions of events are unchallenged by his first wife.] 3. Was he counting the Canadian Fresh Fire Ministries assets--worth perhaps $13 million at one time?-- as his? Naughty, if so, and the term "I had $13 million in the bank," should certainly not be used. Is the old Canadian Fresh Fire Ministries, sitting on a pile of cash? I don't think so. It's now renamed Transform International, and in recent years, according to the returns it has filed with Revenue Canada, seems to have been dialed down quite a bit. But not entirely, according to its 2012 Canadian tax return, the latest available. There's some interesting information here. Transform International, according to its Revenue Canada return, still owns a building or land valued at $1,274,474. Donations were only $200, and it received $18,500 from another charity. The line item "Other amounts not already included in the amounts above" comes to $17,052. However, there is also a line which reads: "All other expenditures not already included in the amounts above (excluding gifts to qualified donees) and the amounts listed are interesting: $ 161,449 Total expenditures (excluding gifts to qualified donees) (Add lines 4860, 4810, and 4920). 4950 $ 180,288 Of the total amount at line 4950: a) How much did the charity spend on charitable programs? 5000 $ 141,721 b) How much did the charity spend on management and administration? 5010 $ 90,271 Total amount of gifts made to all qualified donees. 5050 $ 51,704 Total expenditures (Add lines 4950 and 5050) 5100 $ 231,992 Transform International is listed as giving $1,704 to Transform Central, but that is Todd Bentley's old home church in Abbotsford. What does Transform International do? According to their 2012 return:
The ministry's website is no longer held by the ministry. The responsible officer is an Elesha Greter. (Related to Ken Greter, I am guessing. Ken Greter is listed as President) Well... It looks like Transform International is being pretty quiet in its work. Where does it get the money to pay out its various expenditures? Their donations are low, so they would need to have a bank account somewhere... But I can confidently guess that there is not $13 million in such an account, should it exist.