Religious Watchdog Targets Daystar

A religious watchdog group says a lawsuit filed by a former executive has cracked open a door it plans to walk through.

Jeanette Hawkins, a former marketing director, says her bosses used Daystar Television Network funds to facilitate an affair between the network founder and another former executive. Hawkins filed suit Thursday against the Rev. Marcus Lamb and Daystar.

In an appearance on the network Tuesday, Lamb said three people threatened to go public about his extramarital affair unless they were paid $7.5 million.

"We've never done a proactive investigation but we're about to," said Ole Anthony, president of the Trinity Foundation. "I thought I'd warn Marcus and Joni."

The Dallas-based organization monitors and investigates religious fraud.

"In this case, there are specific instance of a house being purchased, payments being made which are literally hush money -- those kinds of things will be able to be opened by the attorney in depositions," Anthony said.

Anthony said the Trinity Foundation is already working with informants within Daystar and that more former employees are coming forward with allegations about the values behind the Christian message at the network.

Anthony said he believes the scandal will lead to an eventual drop in donations to Daystar as the faithful get an inside view of the people they believe were called to do God's work.

"It's giving the name of God a bad name," he said. "So many people have been turned away from God by the antics of these idiots. They're just con men in the name of God."

Meanwhile, Daystar filed a counter lawsuit against Hawkins and two other former employees.

The suit, filed late Friday in Tarrant County District Court, claims that the three engaged in a conspiracy to extort money.

Jim Fisher, a Dallas attorney who represents the three former employees, has said the extortion allegations are "preposterous."

In a statement late Friday night, the network said Hawkins' lawsuit had "specific and outrageous allegations" about Lamb and Daystar.

"The Daystar Television Network lawsuit speaks for itself," the network's statement said. "The ministry and Mr. Lamb dispute the allegations in both of Ms. Hawkins' petitions and will vigorously defend themselves against these harmful mistruths, seeking all remedies available to them in the legal system."

NBCDFW's Scott Gordon contributed to this report.

Previous Coverage:

Contact Us