PTL founder Jim Bakker complained just weeks before he resigned in 1987 that he did not live as well as other evangelists, a former aide testified today at Bakker's fraud and conspiracy trial.
"We were at ORU (Oral Roberts University), and they were showing us around," David Taggart said. "Mr. Bakker said that he lived shabbily compared to Oral Roberts . . . and other ministers."
Taggart, who was convicted last month of tax evasion, said Bakker made the comment while they were in Oral Roberts' office in Tulsa, Okla. The office, he said, "is about the size of this courtroom."
'Wanted to Have 10 Homes'
He also testified that Bakker had become fascinated with real estate investments and had said he wanted to invest his bonus payments from PTL in land. "He told me he wanted to have 10 homes," Taggart said.
Taggart also said the Bakker's parsonage electric bill usually ran about $1,800 to $2,000 a month because "the pool was kept at a very high temperature . . . in the 90s."
Taggart began his testimony Monday, the first day of Bakker's federal court trial. He testified then that the PTL ministry founder used church money to pay Jessica Hahn to keep silent about their tryst.
Taggart said his former boss also used official funds to buy homes, expensive cars and to finance luxurious trips to seaside resorts.
$100 Worth of Rolls
A prosecutor, citing what he called excesses in Bakker's life style, said on one occasion the minister and his wife bought $100 worth of cinnamon buns from a bakery because they liked the aroma and threw the rolls out three days later without eating a single one.
Bakker is charged with 28 counts of fraud and conspiracy and could be sentenced to 120 years in prison and fined $5 million if found guilty of all of them.
Bakker quit PTL in March, 1987, amid revelations about his 1980 sexual encounter with church secretary Hahn and a $265,000 payoff to her. Bakker attorney George T. Davis said the Hahn payment was made without Bakker's knowledge.