Family Radio, the Oakland-based evangelical network run by Harold Camping, had already spent more than $5 million on 5,000 billboards announcing Judgment Day — May 21, 2011 — according to tax documents.
Two years later, Camping’s predictive powers have been thoroughly discredited. But the financial reckoning that Tuter foresaw for Family Radio may be coming soon, according to public financial documents and current and former high-level Family Radio employees who spoke to this newspaper.
Former and current insiders allege the situation may be even worse than it appears, claiming donations have dropped almost 70 percent since the Rapture prediction proved incorrect, leading to numerous layoffs of longtime Family Radio staff members. Those insiders say the nonprofit mishandled the sales of the stations, reaping far less than they were worth, and is on the hook for millions of dollars to devotees who have loaned them money over the years.
Since the Rapture prediction flamed out, a religious freedom group and a part-time Family Radio employee wrote the California Attorney General’s Office requesting a fraud investigation into Family Radio’s handling of donations. Evans said the complaints were unfounded.
Meanwhile, Tuter — Camping’s former top assistant — believes his ex-boss is running the ministry into the ground on purpose.
Camping said he wanted Family Radio to die with him, which could be why they sold off the money making parts of it. At the start of 2007, this article notes the network was big, worth $135 million, but by the end of 2011, after the failed prophecy, net assets were down to $29.2 million. According to tax documents, they received $85.2 million in donations over that five-year period.
Not everyone thinks the radio empire is down the tubes, though. One board member notes they will survive. Ever the optimist. Maybe next Rapture…