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PTL Panel Like Rubber Stamp, Zimbalist Says

From Associated Press

Actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr. testified Monday that the PTL board of directors, on which he once served, was little more than a rubber stamp for television evangelist Jim Bakker.

“It was called a board of directors, but at no time did it operate like one,” said Zimbalist, star of “The FBI” television series, who served on the board from 1981 to 1986. “It was a board of approval or affirmation only.”

Asked if he recalled approving a $390,000 bonus for Bakker, Zimbalist said: “Oh no, oh no.”

Zimbalist, testifying at Bakker’s trial on fraud and conspiracy charges, told a U.S. District Court jury that the board was not informed of financial problems at its meetings.

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“There was usually a statement but not a financial statement . . . . Usually they would have to do with one or two projects in the works or ones being contemplated. The financial condition of PTL was never discussed.”

Bakker is accused of diverting more than $3.7 million in PTL money to pay for personal luxuries. If found guilty of the 24 counts against him, Bakker could be sentenced to 120 years in prison and fined more than $5 million.


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