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Christianity TodayJune 11June 11 2001



Health Fraud: Health Ministry in Receiership
"Arrangement designed to save Christian Brotherhood Newsletter, not dissolve it"

An Ohio judge has put the troubled Christian Brotherhood Newsletter (CBN) under the control of a court-appointed receiver. The arrangement, sought by the Ohio attorney general, is intended to save the health-care ministry rather than to dissolve it.

The receiver, attorney R. Scott Haley, moved immediately to secure all CBN bank accounts and within 24 hours had removed founder Bruce Hawthorn, Hawthorn's wife, and Ron Beers, Hawthorn's handpicked operational vice president.

Haley brought back Gary Sprigg, formerly acting CEO, and removed staff members Hawthorn had installed at the Barberton Rescue Mission, replacing them with previous staffers. The receiver has the authority to negotiate a settlement with the IRS, which has been investigating the CBN for several years.

Knoxville pastor Bruce Russell, a reforming member of the CBN who was ousted by Hawthorn last December, told CT he is "very encouraged." A challenge to his ouster from the CBN board has been mounted in an Ohio appeals court; that action is still pending. The judge's April 25 order was agreed to by the attorney for Hawthorn; as a result, it cannot be appealed.

One of the few limits on receiver Haley's power was the specification that the receiver "shall not have any authority to control or direct the religious services" at the mission, or at CBN.

Related Elsewhere

The Christian Brotherhood Newsletter site only addresses the controversy in passing.

Christianity Today's earlier coverage of the Christian Brotherhood Newsletter includes:

Health Ministry Fraud Alleged | Ohio seeks $16 million in damages against Christian Brotherhood Newsletter. (Mar. 9, 2001)Bearing (some but not all) Burdens | Clean-living Christians create an unusual way to share medical expenses. (Sept. ...

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