Kenneth Copeland Accused of Humanitarian Aid Fraud
January 21, 2010
NEWARK, TX, (christiansunite.com) -- While millions of viewers around the world are watching the ongoing international humanitarian efforts for Haiti's earthquake-stricken population, televangelist Kenneth Copeland is being accused of failing to provide his own promised aviation assistance during this crisis.
Rev. Rich Vermillion was formerly associated with Copeland as the writer of the book, Angel Flight 44: The True Story of Two Dedicated Pilots, a 60-Year-Old Airplane, and the Amazing Hurricane Katrina Mission That Birthed a New Aviation Ministry. The book details the 2005 relief efforts made by Kenneth Copeland Ministries (KCM) in the aftermaths of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and Copeland's promises to form a new ongoing aviation humanitarian-relief ministry also called Angel Flight 44 (AF44). However, Rev. Vermillion now says that the aviation ministry was never formed as Copeland pledged: "It is as if Kenneth Copeland had NEVER said such a ministry had ALREADY been formed, nor had repeatedly promised that such an aviation support ministry would be further developed and ready for disasters--such as that which just occurred in Haiti a few days ago."
Vermillion has begun to document his allegations on KennethCopelandBlog.com, a "redemptive" website he created to "call on the man, his family, and his ministry, to simply repent." The videos and documents already thereon clearly validate Rich's testimony. One example is the March, 2007 "Special Partnership Edition" of KCM's Believer's Voice of Victory magazine posted on KennethCopelandBlog.com. In an article entitled, "How to Be a Worldwide Blessing" Kenneth Copeland writes, "You need several million dollars to build an airplane hangar and buy helicopters, airplanes, food and supplies for Angel Flight 44, your international aviation outreach that helps the needy in times of disaster. 'What? I don't have... an aviation outreach to the needy!' Yes, you do. Those aren't just outreaches of Kenneth Copeland Ministries. If you're a Partner, they're your outreaches too."
Now with the current Haiti crisis in progress, Rich comments that Copeland's 3-and-a-half-year-old unfulfilled promises seem morbidly cruel. He writes, "...one has to wonder where Copeland and his Angel Flight 44 ministry were during those early days of the disaster when their services were so badly needed. If Copeland had prepared beforehand as he had pledged, there would have been supplies flowing into Haiti within 24 hours after that earthquake. Instead, the people had to suffer and wait until other groups arrived, and that seems almost criminal in my opinion."
Rich also contends that money given by donors towards the formation of the new ministry has never been accounted for. "There has never been an open accounting or explanation given regarding the AF44- earmarked funds given to date." He does acknowledge that KCM formed a Disaster Relief Fund, but then he adds, "A generic relief fund is a far cry from a fully operational disaster-relief aviation ministry." Shortly later Rich writes, "...my experience with Kenneth Copeland, his family, and his ministry, has given me the regrettable opinion that they may be nothing more than religious frauds." He then concludes, "...that is why we are calling on them to simply repent."
Kenneth Copeland Ministries is one of six televangelist ministries being investigated by the Senate Finance Committee for possible tax law fraud, and has not cooperated with the investigation. KCM is not certified by any independent financial group, such as the Evangelical Counsel for Financial Accountability; Wall Watchers' MinistryWatch.com has given them a financial transparency grade of "F."