Born the daughter of a minister in Georgia, Janice Crouch grew up among all the trappings of the church and a life of holy devotion.
But before she passed away yesterday, days after suffering a massive stroke at her Florida home, the 78-year-old lived a life of enormous wealth funded by her Evangelical TV empire.
Alongside her husband Paul, Crouch preached to millions of viewers on a weekly basis, promising them wealth if only they would open up their own pockets and donate to her.
Using that money the couple bought adjoining mansions in Florida, jets worth almost $60 million and a $100,000 mobile home just to house Janice’s dogs, according to a lawsuit filed in 2012
In a lawsuit filed by granddaughter Brittany Koper after she was sacked from her position as the couple’s accountant, they were accused of receiving $300,000 to $500,000 in meal expenses, as well as the use of chauffeurs.
Koper’s lawsuit, reported by the New York Times, also claimed that staff members at the network, including sound engineers and chauffeurs, were ordained as ministers so their salaries could be tax exempt.
This also made it easier for the Couches to claim their 13 mansions as ‘parsonages’, also exempting them from a good deal of state and federal taxes.
Koper added: ‘My job as finance director was to find ways to label extravagant personal spending as ministry expenses.’
Janice, or ‘Momma Jan’ as she became known, also founded the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, a bizarre theme park that she took to overseeing personally.
Troy Clements, a former executive at the park, said that Janice’s belief that she was doing the Lord’s work led her to justify extravagant spending on personal whims.
Clements told the New York Times that he was once forced to remodel a cafe on site three times in six weeks.
When Janice was challenged on the behavior, she simply responded: ‘No one has told me “no” for 30 years, and you’re not going to start now.’
Clements also said that, when she began the remodeling project, she rented two rooms at the adjacent Loews Portofino Bay Hotel in order to be close to the project.
One room, he said, was for her – while the other housed her two Maltese dogs along with her clothes. The rooms were rented for two years, he added.
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