Another Pastor Paid Lavish Salary But Still Wants More Money

Crystal Cathedral Ministries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Oct. 18, according to the OC Register, yet the Schullers want church members to deliver food to their limo drivers (wait, they have limo drivers?!) because Arvella Shuller is sick with pneumonia.

Church members are upset because the request came at a time when their church is in “bankruptcy and information coming out through court documents has suggested that the Schullers took nearly $10 million from the church’s endowment funds.”

Oh dear. A pastor wouldn’t take $10 million dollars from a church fund, would he? That definitely would not explain the private limo drivers. I mean, I have a limo driver, of course. Don’t you?

“They’ve completely depleted the church’s funds,” he said. “But they have shown that they have absolutely no remorse for what they’ve done. They’re still being chauffeured around in limos. We, the congregants, have nothing.” [OC Register]

Healing Place Pastor Founder Resigns; Affair Cover Up Suspected

What Healing Place church members don’t know is that Dino Rizzo is most likely still taking their money. According to the Secretary of State’s site, there have been no amendments to any of the non-profits listed removing Dino or DeLynn Rizzo. In fact, no changes have been made since 2009. If Dino had really resigned, wouldn’t he have been removed from HPC and the ministries entirely?

Healing Place Church founder Dino Rizzo has stepped down from his job as pastor claiming need of a sabbatical.

Yesterday, I reported the story here but since the writing of that story, more church leaders have come forward to confirm the already existing allegations. What The Advocate isn’t telling you, is that Dino Rizzo and a former intern Kaycee Morgan Smith allegedly had an affair, according to reports from church leaders who were told this in a meeting Sunday. Leaders were duped into thinking Dino would admit his affair on Sunday to the church; however, Dino never read a statement according to sources. Instead leaders believe Dino provided a smokescreen to cover up the scandal and his leadership followed suit.

The Advocate reported tha he said this:

“We feel it is best that we step down as pastors today,” Dino Rizzo told several thousand church members gathered in the spacious arena sanctuary during the first of two Sunday morning services.

DeLynn Rizzo stood next to her husband while he addressed the church members.

“We feel God is moving us into a new season,” he said without disclosing what future plans the couple might have.

“Our hearts are forever marked by your faith, your love and your generosity,” Dino Rizzo told the silent crowd.

If reports are correct, then why did Dino lie to his church congregation? What does Dino have to lose by outing himself and coming clean? A lot of money, it seems. Money the IRS may or may not know about, since some of the non-profit corporations in Dino’s name are not in good standing for failure to file an annual report.
Dino Rizzo is listed as Director, Treasurer, and Vice-President (and other titles) to sixteen different organizations.

La Sec

 

Screen shot from the Secretary of State’s website September 18th, 2012 (10 am)

The first corporation on the list is listed as “not in good standing for failure to file an annual report” according to the Secretary of State’s website.

HHminitries

One of Dino Rizzo’s ministries

What Healing Place church members don’t know is that Dino Rizzo is still listed as an officer. According to the Secretary of State’s site, there have been no amendments to any of the non-profits listed removing Dino or DeLynn Rizzo. In fact, no changes have been made since 2009. If Dino had really resigned, wouldn’t he have been removed from HPC and the ministries entirely?

It appears that Dino is still legally tied to Healing Place Church and the fifteen other non-profit corporations. What we don’t know is how much money is there? If church members or the public were interested in knowing, they might tackle this by going to the IRS and filing a whistleblower claim. It pays well, according to a New York Times article, one whistleblower earned a $104 million dollar reward. Another option for former interns would be to consult a lawyer about HPC’s promise of ministry training and a possible violation of Quid Pro Quo Contributions. Interns in HPC’s School of Ministry get tangible benefits from their “donations” to the church. This means they aren’t really donations at all.
History repeats itself. There was another infamous minister whose world came crashing down over a sex affair, and in a bit of irony, he was also attached to the Los Angeles Dream Center. His name is Jim Bakker. It took a woman named Jessica Hahn’s allegations of Jim raping her for the ministry to start unraveling. According to Wikipedia,

Following a 16-month Federal grand jury probe, Bakker was indicted in 1988 on eight counts of mail fraud, 15 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy. In 1989, after a five-week trial which began on August 28 in Charlotte, the jury found him guilty on all 24 counts, and Judge Robert Potter sentenced him to 45 years in federal prison and a $500,000 fine.

The New York Times says this: “Judge Potter’s defenders cite a presentence memo in which prosecutors assert that Mr. Bakker actually used fraudulent appeals to raise $158 million.”
A non-profit called PRC Compassion is also something to look into, since federal funds were given to the non-profit corporation for Hurricane Katrina relief. One wonders how much of the federal funds were actually given to those in need and how much was put in the pockets of the officers: Gene Mills, Dino Rizzo and Daniel Jones (all large ministry leaders).
With Bakker, it wasn’t just an affair. Could it be the same with Dino Rizzo? I have a feeling once I post this, HPC will begin to do a quick cover up and destroy any documents that the IRS would need. My advice to HPC or ARC leaders or members who read this is to come clean. Don’t cover up the scandal. You owe your parishioners honesty at the very least. Not to mention, withholding crucial information from federal investigators is fraud as former Banker, Bradley C. Birkenfeld learned:

During the investigation Mr. Birkenfeld was charged with fraud for withholding crucial information from federal investigators, including details of his top client, the property developer Igor Olenicoff. Mr. Birkenfeld was sentenced to 40 months in prison, and was released early on Aug. 1.

More on the Dino Rizzo affair and resignation: 

Rizzo Resigns As Healing Place Pastor; Rumors Of Affair Surface

Dino Rizzo From Healing Place Church Puts His House Up For Sale

Megachurch Pastor Dino Rizzo Returns to Ministry After Affair

Here’s What People Are Saying About Dino Rizzo’s Affair Cover-Up

An Email from a Dino Rizzo Fan

 

 

 

Penn State & Teen Mania: The Good Ol’ Boys Coverup

The weeks are just flying by. One moment it was my birthday and now it’s nearly Thanksgiving! What happened to the past few weeks?

For starters, I started working in retail, which I have to say isn’t as terrible as I once thought it might be. The time goes by infinitely faster than I imagined it would. However, standing on your feet all day lends to exhaustion in the wrong shoes. Duly noted. Next apartment I live in WILL have a bathtub.

Then the US came unhinged over the Penn State/Joe Paterno scandal which is really a Sandusky scandal (abusing boys in the Penn State locker room). So many lessons learned.

  1. Penn State brought in $50 million dollars a year under Paterno on college ball.
  2. That’s why he wasn’t fired (10 years PRIOR to knowing about the child rape; 1 year PRIOR after the Grand Jury found Sandusky guilty).
  3. The good ol’ boys will cover things up when that much money and notoriety are involved. (Church members, take note)
  4. Report rape to the Administration AND CPS. Not just the Administration.

After all that drama, I got a second job. I’m an official staff member of my university. Which sounds amazing, and I’m happy to have the job, BUT it was supposed to be 20 hours a week and it looks like it’ll be closer to 15 hours a week for the next few weeks. Not great news.

My friends at Recovering Alumni got a documentary aired on MSNBC which has been causing quite a stir in the Teen Mania Ministries cult. Ron Luce has done interviews with people who care (not me) like Charisma News. Apparently only biased Christian media care to interview him because real journalism has exposed his ESOAL and Honor Academy as an abusive cult-like group. Ron cares about the MSNBC documentary mostly because it may cost him money if people believe that he’s abusing teens in his ministry.

However, the blogosphere is going crazy with weirdos supporting him, saying that people who are abused should “suck it up” and “stop whining.” Typical. Go Jesus followers. You guys are the BEST.

In some countries, like ours, abusers go to jail. Although, see Penn State (above) for an example of the multi-million dollar makers NOT going to jail or being fired UNTIL years and years later when they’re old enough to die and not produce any more money for the big bad ministry (er…university).

Apparently, Teen Mania owns Charisma News because “The Bible Answer Man” Hank Hanegraaff defends Teen Mania by saying, “In reality, the MSNBC piece is a case study in sophistry, sloppy journalism and sensationalism.” It should be noted that Teen Mania was offered a second interview to allow Ron Luce to answer the claims and they refused.  However, please note that Hank calls this “sloppy journalism” instead of fair.

Then Hank says “Doug and Wendy Duncan, billed as experts specializing in recovery from mind control.” Taken from their website:

Doug and Wendy Duncan are former members of a religious cult, the Trinity Foundation, in Dallas, Texas. After leaving the cult where he was a member for over twenty years, Doug earned his master’s degree in counseling and is now a licensed professional counselor in the state of Texas. Wendy is a licensed social worker and holds a master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is also the author of I Can’t Hear God Anymore: Life in a Dallas Cult, the true story of the couple’s involvement in and eventual separation from a cult.

A note: I’ve read Wendy’s book I Can’t Hear God Anymore: Life in a Dallas Cult and I’ve never had anything resonate with me so much in regard to my own cult experience. It seems to me that cults and abusive religious groups have leaders who are more alike than they are different. Many of the same phrases and twists in scripture that Wendy talked about were the same thing I experienced. I’m not claiming to be unbiased here. I am biased. I like Doug and Wendy a lot. I’ve searched for years to find a counselor or therapist who understands cults and recovery from a cult with futility. Their experiences and the way they help people has been invaluable to me. They’re also affiliated with International Cultic Studies Association.