A bankruptcy trustee for the PTL ministry agreed today to sell PTL’s assets to an Orthodox Jew, Toronto businessman Stephen R. Mernick, who will pay $115 million.
PTL trustee M. C. (Red) Benton said Mernick, 34, will put up $50 million at closing with the balance to be paid over five years. The PTL was founded by Pentecostal preacher Jim Bakker and his wife, Tammy Faye, but they lost it in 1987 when Bakker was caught up in a sex scandal involving church secretary Jessica Hahn. Benton had been weighing competing offers from Mernick and fellow Canadian Peter Thomas. Both said they wanted the property for its real estate value, although Thomas had promised to maintain the character of Heritage USA, the PTL theme park, as a Christian retreat.