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Ed Young Loses His Way (Update – Post Your Tax Returns Online Ed)

John on February 9, 2010 at 8:23 am

I’ve been to Fellowship Church on one occasion and read one of Young’s books a couple years ago. So the latest revelations coming out of Grapevine, Texas are very disappointing:

Over the past few weeks, News 8 has been in contact with a number of individuals who were once close to Young at his massive Fellowship Church in Grapevine, disturbed by his direction and treatment of staff.

Young recently replaced his chief financial officer and replaced him with his personal attorney, business partner and fishing buddy, Dennis Brewer Jr.

Boy does this bring back memories. Word to the wise, when the pastor starts replacing staff with his buddies, something is wrong. Unfortunately, that’s just the beginning.

With Brewer’s help and a complex series of business creations and transactions, Young is now jetting around the country in a French-made Falcon 50 private jet; estimated value, $8.4¬†million.

Records obtained by News 8 indicate Fellowship Church became the operator of the jet in March of 2007. News 8 discovered the jet parked in a hangar at Alliance Airport north of Fort Worth, tucked away where only a select few can see it.

Those who hear him preach every Sunday have never been told about the aircraft.

“The staff members are told that there is no plane, and several staff members who have actually been on the plane have denied that there is a plane,” said the former employee source.

Here’s another thing that sets off alarms…Staff are lying to the membership of the church. This is a very bad sign. It says that, deep down, the staff know something is wrong and they are ashamed to tell the truth.

News 8 has also learned that Young’s 10,000 square foot, $1.5 million¬†estate on Lake Grapevine is not listed on the tax rolls in his name, but rather in the name of “Palometa Revocable Trust.”

Records show that Young was paid $240,000 a year as a parsonage allowance; that’s in addition what sources say is a $1 million yearly pastor’s salary.

$1.25 million a year? I’m sorry but there’s no one on earth who should be making this kind of money as a pastor. I don’t care how successful the church is or isn’t. Unless it turns out he’s giving away at least 75% of his income, this is just ridiculous.

Finally, it’s worth noting that this appears to have been brought to light by Ole’ Anthony who, despite doing some good work on televangelists over the years, has his own problems.

Update: A commenter is upset with me for spreading “slander” and tells me to check out Ed’s response. Okay, so here it is, Ed Young’s response:

YouTube Preview Image

So he admits to flying around in an $8 million dollar private jet, but it was “leased” not owned. He makes it sound as if, in consulting with experts, this is normal. Really? How many pastors fly in private jets to take a vacation? Also, it has never been a secret, it’s just that no one at the church knew about it.

And his house isn’t 10K square feet, it’s only 7,800. Wow, that’s hardly worth mentioning then. Only 7,800? That’s practically a hovel.

And he doesn’t make a million dollars a year, but he won’t say what he does make and he doesn’t deny the 250K parsonage claim in the story. So does he make a million in compensation if you include the parsonage? Three quarters of a million?

Other pastors make money off books and so forth, but Rick Warren has made a big point of giving 90% of his income away. I don’t hear any similar commitment from Ed, just vague reassurance that he makes less than some unspecified others.

And the two guys he trots out to back him up count for zero in my book. I’ve seen that up close and those guys are usually on the payroll one way or another. Finally, promising great things in the future doesn’t excuse him from making good choices in the present.

If Ed wants to convince people he’s above reproach, he ought to post his income tax filing online for the whole church to see. If he’s not ashamed of his salary then why not just tell people what it is. A CEO in the business world would never do such a thing of course, but this isn’t just a business. If Ed has nothing to hide (and I really wish that to be the case) then he should put his critics to shame by offering complete transparency about his finances and lifestyle now that the question has been raised. “Moving on” without taking those steps looks a lot like trying to change the subject to me.

Update 2: Don’t miss this comment about the ownership of that private jet. I haven’t verified the facts yet, but this individual seems to know. The gist is that this is an exclusive “lease to own” at the end of which Ed would own the plane for a final payment of $1.oo. If true, and again I haven’t verified it, that would mean his explanation to his congregation was essentially a deception.

Again, this is something I’ve seen up close. The pastor says something which while technically true in a legal sense is in fact designed to hide the real situation from people. It’s not a good sign. If Ed deceived people about the plane, I would strongly urge members of Fellowship to find another church.

If anyone out there has confirmation of this information, please send it to me and I will publish it.

Update 3: No responses to my e-mail queries about the plane. Not surprising really. Also, check the comments for a description of what goes on at FC from an ex-employee.

If any ex-employees (or current ones) want to go on the record, I’d be happy to do an interview.

Also, follow up post is here.

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