America’s most popular supermarket tabloid claims famous televangelist Joel Osteen “is caught up in a financial scandal,” using his Houston megachurch to sell his books.
The National Enquirer alleges that New York attorney Richard Garbarini – who previously helped two musicians in a lawsuit against Osteen and his Lakewood Church accusing the church of unauthorized use of a song – is charging that Osteen uses his Houston-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit to hawk his bestsellers.
“He’s leveraging the church as a money-making vehicle! The church pays (to air) his sermons, which are just de facto infomercials to promote his books,” Garbarini purportedly told the Enquirer. “The Lakewood Church is a shell to funnel people to his website so he can sell his books.”
WND called Lakewood Church three times to ask for comment on the allegations, and each time the person answering offered to connect WND to a spokesperson but disconnected the phone call. The woman answering refused to provide any other contact information.
The Lakewood Church website sells several of Osteen’s books, including his latest hot seller, “You Can, You Will.” The product listings do not indicate whether the proceeds of the sales go to the church or to Osteen himself. In 2005, Texas Monthly reported that Osteen contributed “a substantial portion of his earnings” from one of his books to the church.
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