Stephen Bennett Ministries Accounts Part 2

 

If you remember, I did a post on Stephen Bennett and his ministries back in February.  I did it in response to his begging for funds to support his ‘ministry.’  I just noticed that Guidestar.org now has his 2006 financial statement that was received in November 2007.  He claimed in his letter to be having some financial problems.  He states:

There have been months we have gone without — unable to pay simple necessities such as the ministry bills, the mortgage, electric, salaries, and personally doctor’s bills. The Lord doesn’t want this. We are to be responsible with what He provides and we are. We are frugal with every dime this ministry receives. Yet, as I said, we are at a major crossroad now. We can no longer go on operating the way we have.

This was written on Feb. 3, 2008.  He signed his 2006 990 on Nov. 15, 2007.  So it was just less than three months that he wrote his ‘poor me’ letter begging for money.  He even stated that he couldn’t even pay his salary.  Well, the numbers show something quite different and Stephen Bennett has some explaining to do.  Below is a table of some of what his 2005 990 stated, and what his 2006 990 states.  I’ve also given the difference between the two years (unfortunately it is going to be quite a few months before I can see his 2007 returns).  First off notice that he brought in quite a bit more money in 2006 (nearly 100,000 more than 2005) and paid both himself and his wife quite a bit more.  Money was not short in 2006 for the Bennetts.  I’ve given some short comments below.

 

2005 2005 Cost 2006 Difference

Total amount raised

190,000 286,000 +96,000

His Salary

~56,000

75,000 +19,000
His wife’s salary

~25,000

~39,000 +14,000

Other salaries and wages

~14,000

Supplies

~15,000

27,000 +12,000

Telephone

~6,000

~5,000

-1,000

Postage and Shipping

~9,000

6,500 -2,500

Occupancy

~3,600

(nothing listed)

Equipment rental and maintenance

~900

4,000 +3,400

Printing and publications

~800

8,000 +7,200

Travel

~8,000:

47,000 +39,000

Advertising

~1,700

6,800 +5,100

Bank service charges

~1,300

273 -1,000

Benevolence

~1,500

Not given

Credit Card Fees

~2,500

850 -1,650

Dry cleaning

~500

210 -300

Memberships

~300

145 -155

Other

~600

37,000 +36,400

Radio air time

~3,000

150 -2,850

Web Hosting Domain Names

~3,500

5,300 +1,800
clothing and luggage not given 580
Office food and drink not given 410

 

Again, I can only see the 2006 returns and he was complaining about 2007–so keep that in mind. 

So, Stephen Bennett claims he is hurting for money.  His 2006 tax forms show that he paid himself and his wife more than $33,000 more than the year before.  You can also see that his spent nearly $40,000 more on travel from the year before! 

So what is going on here? By his tax records Stephen Bennett Ministries had a stellar 2006 year.  He brought in more money and paid himself and his wife quite a bit more than 2005.  He spent a HUGE amount of money on travel in 2006.  I don’t know how he and his wife could have racked up about $40,000 in travel costs.  But he did.  And he then has the gall to tell people that he doesn’t have money to pay his mortgage and his salary and tell people he is being frugal.

We’ll know the truth by the end of this year (when hopefully his 2007 returns are released) but his begging for money is entirely immoral and my guess is illegal.  He is running a non-profit and this money is tax free.  He then writes a letter stating that he is poor and doesn’t have money, but he claims in 2006 that he spent nearly $290,000 and had almost $25,000 leftover.   Of course, maybe 2007 was an absolutely horrible year for the Bennetts.  I find this unlikely since in 2006 he brought in about $286,000, in 2005 $189,000, in 2004 $146,000. Of course, maybe people caught on that his whole ‘ministry’ is nothing but a money-making scheme for himself.  Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing the 2007 returns.  If I see that he actually had money and yet wrote that letter stating he was poor, I’ll be sending everything off to the IRS to let them decide.

Either way, Stephen Bennett and his wife are not ‘frugal with their ministry’ as they tell people they are.  How can they dare say that when people can see they spent nearly $50,000 on travel in 2006?  Maybe if they had actually been frugal they would have quite a bit of money in the bank.  He also stated on Nov. 6 2007 that it was a very busy year travel-wise:

I’m traveling again all of this week — back down south to SC and GA. Will be meeting some new friends and visiting with others, also possibly singing on Christian television Thursday.

This year has been extremely busy – travel-wise – and after this week, only one more major event (as of now) to go. Then it’s time for the holidays!

I wonder if his non-profit paid for this trip to see his friends? I sounds like the IRS should be looking more closely at his accounts and checking how frugal Stephen Bennett really is…

 

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