Big Bucks For US Preachers?

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Story #1 - Reglious Broadcaster Builds $4 Million house - while cutting jobs

Story #2 - NY Pastor resigns after only 2 months - with 1/4 mil. salary, after court battle
Story #1 CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Religious broadcaster building a $4 million home in a gated, lakefront community in western South Carolina at the same time that the ministry has cut jobs and reset thermostats to save money in its new headquarters.
Inspiration Networks' CEO David Cerullo is building the 9,000-square-foot private home on a lot that overlooks Lake Keowee, The Charlotte Observer reported Monday.
Inspiration Networks has drawn scrutiny for up to $26 million in incentives it won 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 (20 cents goes - where?)
In addition to laying off workers, the newspaper reported, the ministry froze wages and stopped making contributions to 401(k) retirement accounts. The thermostat on the network's new building was cut to 65 degree during the winter.
A network spokesman did not respond to calls and e-mails requesting comment on the house. Cerullo defended his $1.5 million in compensation in a March interview and said he rejected recommendations that he be paid more.
"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.
Employees told the newspaper the ministry began laying off some workers late last year.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is investigating the finances of six other televangelists and told the newspaper that leaders of religious nonprofits should be careful not to use viewers' donations to adopt extravagant lifestyles.
IRS rules bar nonprofits from paying "unreasonable compensation" to officials.
Story #2 Pastor of NYC's Riverside Church resigns after 2 months as its head
NEW YORK (AP) — The pastor of New York City's Riverside Church has resigned after only two months in the job.
The Rev. Brad Braxton notified the church's board of his decision Monday night.
He has been criticized for his $600,000-plus salary package, which included a $250,000 annual salary and $11,500 living allowance. The package was approved by church members.
Dissidents unsuccessfully tried to block his installation by going to court. They charged the package strained the church's budget.
The cathedral on Manhattan's Upper West Side was built by John D. Rockefeller.
A church spokeswoman said Braxton's "end date will be determined after further discussion with church leadership."

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