Jul 17, 2009

Minister Builds Dream House Despite Layoffs

It must be rough. Inspiration Networks' CEO David Cerullo is building his $4 million dream home overlooking Lake Keowee. It is settled in a gated lakefront community in western South Carolina.

It's funny that at the same time his ministry has cut jobs, ended 401K for remaining employees and reset the thermostats to save money in their new HQ.

Inspiration Networks took $26 million in incentives from South Carolina to move from Charlotte to Indian Land, S.C., in Lancaster County. The network's revenues are expected to approach $100 million, largely donations from people who are told God favors those who donate.

Cerullo has said 80 cents of each donated dollar is spent to spread the Gospel.

"If they've got these kinds of assets, does the state really need to offer ... tax breaks?" asked Don Weaver, president of the S.C. Association of Taxpayers. IRS rules bar nonprofits from paying "unreasonable compensation" to officials.

Maybe it is time to end tax breaks for any religious group, and ending the non-tax status of religious organizations?

And, it seems that David Cerullo's father, Morris Cerullo, was indicted for tax evasion in California in 2005 - although the charges were dismissed by a Bush-appointed judge on grounds of prosecutorial error - and was sued in 2000 by two former employees who alleged that the elder Cerullo used donations for personal profit.

On that earlier occasion, one of the plaintiff's lawyers explained that "[Morris] Cerullo purports to have first met God at the age of eight. Since then, his life has apparently been one unbelievable experience after another. He says he was led out of a Jewish orphanage by two angelic beings; transported to heaven for a face-to-face meeting with God; has the ability to predict the future; can heal the sick; and has told audiences when they look at him they ‘are looking at God.'"
2 Peter 2:1-3:
1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.

2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned;

3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

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