Pastor's homes raise financial questions

Note: "Together in the Harvest Ministries" (Steve Hill) and "Partners in Revival" (John Kilpatrick) ministries are now both members of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

The Pensacola News Journal/November 17, 1997
By John W. Allman and Amie K. Streater

Pensacola -- Brownsville Assembly of God pastor John Kilpatrick's new home will be set deep in the pines, far back from Liatrus Lane in Donovan Landing, a riverfront subdivision in Baldwin County, Ala.

Crews work daily building both the 5,557-square-foot house and the two-story, 4,916-square-foot garage-guest house, especially designed to hold Kilpatrick's motor coach.

Kilpatrick described the garage-guest house in his blueprints as a "barn." It is owned by his nonprofit corporation, Feast of Fire Ministries Inc., which he formed in October 1996 and which receives the revenue from his book sales and speaking engagements outside Brownsville.

He refused to disclose information about his salary or his Feast of Fire corporation's finances.

What is clear, however, is that Kilpatrick himself is carrying $500,000 in property loans and his corporation is carrying at least $100,000.

In May, Kilpatrick's corporation bought 16 acres on Liatrus Lane in the Donovan Landing subdivision. Kilpatrick and his wife, Brenda, then bought two of those acres from the corporation in September.

He told his congregation recently that he paid $6,000 more per acre than the corporation paid, "just so there would be no questions."

However, he did not state the actual price nor the price the corporation paid. He also did not say whether he or his corporation paid cash or got a mortgage for the land. The deeds on file in Baldwin County show Feast of Fire paying $10 --and other good and valuable consideration-- for the entire 16 acres and Kilpatrick paying Feast of Fire $10 "and other good and valuable consideration" for two of those acres. Alabama allows property purchasers to put that on the deed if they wish to avoid disclosure of the price.

The two acres are the site of Kilpatrick's new home. On Sept. 5, he received a $300,000 construction loan from Welch State Bank in Welch, Okla., to build it.

Welch State Bank president Charles Stoner said his bank's lending area normally does not exceed 125 miles. Pensacola is about 1,000 miles from Welch.

He said he first got to know Kilpatrick in 1996 at pastors' conferences in Missouri and Oklahoma. He then lent Kilpatrick money to buy a $310,000 motor coach from Newell Coach Co., headquartered in nearby Miami, Okla.

When Kilpatrick approached Stoner about the construction loan, Stoner said, Kilpatrick had hired Harlin Stoner, Charles' Stoner's cousin, to build the Liatrus Lane house.

Asked if his cousin's role influenced his decision to make the loan to Kilpatrick, Stoner said, "That didn't hurt it none."

Kilpatrick stated on his building permit that construction on the four-bedroom, three-bath house would cost $343,860.

In a recent interview with the News Journal, he said it would cost $270,000.

He also got a building permit for the barn and stated the cost would be $203,000. It will have two offices and a one-bedroom apartment with kitchen and bath. Kilpatrick has told his congregation that he has a $100,000 mortgage on it.

Kilpatrick installed a triple-strand, barbed-wire fence around the Liatrus Lane property. He put in a heavy steel ranch gate at the driveway and hired a security guard to patrol the grounds.

Now, he has installed a 5-foot-high, triple-rail, white vinyl paddock-style fence along 1,500 feet fronting his property.

The fence probably cost from $10,000 to $15,000. Three fence companies in Pensacola gave the News Journal a range of prices from $6.75 a foot to $10 a foot, depending on installation and the quality of the vinyl.

The new house, on Liatrus Lane, will be Kilpatrick's second home in less than two years, and it will be the third house he has lived in since becoming pastor of Brownsville Assembly of God in 1982.

In June 1996, Kilpatrick bought a 2,900-square-foot house on Erin Pond Road in the Seminole Landing subdivision, which is adjacent to the Donovan Landing subdivision.

Kilpatrick said he and his wife took out a $200,000 mortgage to buy the $250,000 house from a Brownsville church member.

He said he moved from Pensacola to Alabama to get away from throngs of people who were flocking to him after the Pensacola Brownsville Revival began in June 1995.

"When revival broke out, I would go out and get my paper and people would drive by and honk their horns," Kilpatrick said. "I finally told Brenda that we needed privacy."

Even after the move to Erin Pond Road, Kilpatrick said, he is being bothered. He said people constantly drive by and take photographs.

Kilpatrick's neighbors, however, say few strangers ever drive by.

Kilpatrick went before his congregation three days after he was interviewed by the News Journal and said he wanted the church to hear about his houses from him first, before they read the information in the newspaper.

He first told the congregation that the Erin Pond Road house cost $250,000. Later, he told the congregation it cost $249,000. He said he made a $50,000 down payment.

He also told his congregation that in 1982, he bought his first house -- on Coila Street in the Dunmire Woods subdivision of Pensacola --for $90,000. He said when he sold it he made "less than $50,000" profit.

Escambia County property records show he bought that Coila Street house from the church in 1990, paying $115,000.

He sold it in July 1996 for $138,000 to a church member, a real estate agent who had listed it for sale for $152,000. The realty description said it had 2,500 square feet, four bedrooms and two baths and featured a sweetheart whirlpool, Jenn-Air range and a remodeled kitchen, plus a privacy fence.

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