SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) – A man claims the world’s largest Christian TV network wrongfully sued him over inexistent contracts, to retaliate after his nephew’s wife “uncovered and reported illegal distributions and other unlawful self-dealing by Trinity Broadcasting’s directors exceeding $50 million.”
Joseph McVeigh sued Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana, its affiliates International Christian Broadcasting, Redemption Strategies Inc., Trinity Broadcasting’s counsel Davert & Loe, Lawyers, and three attorneys: Douglass Davert, David Loe, and Benjamin Flint III, in Orange County Superior Court.
McVeigh says he was named as a co-defendant in a complaint against his relatives, “with callous disregard for the lack of any merit in the claims being asserted against plaintiff.”
In his 20-page complaint, McVeigh says he borrowed $65,000 from Christian Broadcasting in 2010, and agreed to make monthly payments on a promissory note for 13 years. He says the loan was approved by his nephew, Michael Koper, and his wife, Brittany Koper, former Trinity Broadcasting officers.
McVeigh claims that though he was current on his payments to “Heroes Under God,” one of Trinity Broadcasting’s alter egos, the company and its affiliates and its attorneys sued him on meritless claims, as part of a campaign of retaliation against the Kopers.
“The defendants knowingly and purposefully sued plaintiff on nonexistent contracts pursuant to a malicious campaign of retaliation and intimidation aimed primarily at Trinity Broadcasting Network’s former Chief Financial Officer, Director of Finance, Corporate Treasurer, and Director of Human Resources, Brittany Koper,” the complaint states. “Plaintiff is informed, believes, and based thereon alleges that, in retaliation for objecting to, reporting, and refusing to participate in Trinity Broadcasting’s unlawful activities, Ms. Koper was fired, threatened with physical and lethal violence by Trinity Broadcasting Directors, and betrayed by her own attorneys (Davert & Loe) who filed a malicious lawsuit against Ms. Koper while representing her as counsel of record in related legal proceedings.
“In order to wrongfully pressure Ms. Koper to keep quiet about Trinity Broadcasting’s financial affairs, Ms. Koper’s own attorneys sued not only Ms. Koper in the underlying, retaliatory litigation, but also Ms. Koper’s husband and his relatives in turn. This included plaintiff, who is Ms. Koper’s husband’s mother’s brother. Plaintiff has never worked for Trinity Broadcasting or any of its affiliated companies, but he was falsely and maliciously sued on contracts that the defendants themselves later admitted (overtly and repeatedly in writing) did not exist. The defendants repeatedly threatened plaintiff with criminal prosecution unless he immediately settled the meritless underlying litigation, and plaintiff removed the matter to federal court.
“When finally faced with potential Rule 11 sanctions and Rule 12(b) motions for prosecuting meritless claims against plaintiff on contracts that the defendants had explicitly admitted (in writing) did not exist, the defendants were forced to dismiss their malicious claims against plaintiff. The defendants’ baseless claims against Ms. Koper and all other defendants have likewise now been dismissed in both state and federal court.” (Parentheses in complaint).
McVeigh claims Trinity and Christian Broadcasting retaliated against the Kopers after Brittany Koper, Trinity’s former CFO and director of finance, refused to participate in and cover up Trinity Broadcasting’s directors’ illegal activities.
“Following Ms. Koper’s promotion as Trinity Broadcasting’s head of finance, plaintiff is informed, believes and based thereon alleges that Ms. Koper was specifically instructed by Trinity Broadcasting’s directors and senior executives that she would be required to participate in numerous, illegal financial schemes that were disclosed to Ms. Koper following her promotion,” the complaint states. “Plaintiff in informed, believes, and based thereon alleges that the details of these unlawful activities were specifically disclosed to Ms. Koper during meetings with Trinity Broadcasting’s directors and senior executives, and through Trinity Broadcasting’s records to which Ms. Koper had been given access as the company’s new CFO.
“Following Ms. Koper’s promotion, plaintiff is informed, believes, and based thereon alleges that Trinity Broadcasting’s directors and senior executives informed Ms. Koper that she had been chosen as Trinity Broadcasting’s new head of finance because the directors needed somebody ‘within the family’ that they could trust to keep Trinity Broadcasting’s financial ‘skeletons’ safely in the ‘closet.’
“Plaintiff is informed, believes, and based thereon alleges that Ms. Koper and her husband defied Trinity Broadcasting’s directors and senior executives by reporting and refusing to participate in the unlawful financial schemes disclosed to Ms. Koper following her promotion. Plaintiff is informed, believes, and based thereon alleges that these unlawful and related financial schemes uncovered by or disclosed to Ms. Koper involve more than $50 million in unlawful and unreported income distributions to Trinity Broadcasting’s directors.”
McVeigh claims Trinity Broadcasting’s directors, Paul, Matthew and Janice Crouch, bought luxury items for personal use, through sham loans to alter-ego corporations. The complaint cites a long list, including a $50 million “Global Express” luxury jet aircraft, luxury cars, “a $100,000 motor home purchased by Trinity Broadcasting as a mobile residence for director Janice Crouch’s dogs,” and mansions and cabins in California, Florida, Tennessee and Texas.
The Crouches are not named as defendants.
McVeigh says Trinity Broadcasting’s directors and executives used corporate money to pay for up to $500,000 a year in “meal expenses,” personal chauffeurs, and fictitious “rent expenses” and “redecorating expenses” for the Crouches’ mansions.
He claims Trinity Broadcasting officers and employees were involved in “(m)ultiple cover-ups of sexual and criminal scandals, including the cover-up and destruction of evidence concerning a bloody sexual assault involving Trinity Broadcasting and affiliated Holy Land Experience employees; the cover-up of director Janice Crouch’s affair with a staff member at the Holy Land Experience; the cover-up of director Paul Crouch’s use of Trinity Broadcasting funds to pay for a legal settlement with Enoch Lonnie Ford; the cover-up following director Matthew Crouch’s exposure of his genitals to cleaning staff on multiple occasions; under-the-table payments to avoid liability and punitive damages in the ongoing David Rhodes wrongful death suit, including payments funneled through All American TV, Inc., a nonprofit corporation controlled by Trinity Broadcasting’s general counsel, John Casoria; falsification of records transmitted to the South Coast Air Quality Management District in California; and the list continues.”
McVeigh claims Trinity Broadcasting asked Brittany Koper to testify falsely in retaliatory lawsuits against other former employees and their families.
The complaint states: “Plaintiff is informed, believes, and based thereon alleges that the defendants routinely engage in a pattern of suing family members of former Trinity Broadcasting employees with malicious and meritless claims to force dismissal of employment lawsuits and to achieve confidentiality agreements to cover up Trinity Broadcasting’s unlawful activities. Plaintiff is only one of the recent victims of these malicious litigation tactics by the defendants.
“Plaintiff is informed, believes, and based thereon alleges that after Ms. Koper reported, objected to, and refused to participate in these and numerous other illegal activities, Ms. Koper was subjected to severe retaliatory conduct by the defendants, including threats of physical and lethal violence by Trinity Broadcasting director Matthew Crouch.
“Plaintiff in informed, believes, and based thereon alleges that Trinity Broadcasting director Paul Crouch, Sr. subsequently informed the Kopers that Janice and Matthew Crouch ‘want your heads,’ referring to the biblical account of John the Baptist’s beheading by King Herod after John reproved Herod for certain transgressions; director Janice Crouch confronted Ms. Koper, accused her of ‘biting the hand that feeds you,’ told Ms. Koper that she was a ‘naïve little girl’ when confronted with the list of Trinity Broadcasting’s unlawful conduct, and told Ms. Koper that she must either do as she was told without asking questions or find herself ‘out on your ass’; director Matthew Crouch likewise confronted the Kopers and said he would ‘destroy’ them in response to the specific financial improprieties concerning Matthew Crouch’s compensation that had been reported by Ms. Koper.”
McVeigh says that Trinity Broadcasting fired the Kopers for refusing to participate in its illegal activities, and that “the underlying litigation initiated by the defendants against plaintiff was part of that same campaign of retaliation and intimidation by the defendants.”
He claims Trinity Broadcasting’s attorneys falsely accused him of being in default on two canceled notes and on a nonexistent loan, and falsely claimed that McVeigh had made no payments against his valid loan.
And he says Trinity Broadcasting and its counsel assigned his loan to a new entity, Redemption Strategies, and failed to give him new payment instructions or return his phone calls.
“Plaintiff would later learn that, instead of returning his phone calls, the defendant attorneys had filed a lawsuit against plaintiff on Dec. 1, 2011 on behalf of defendant Redemption Strategies for breach of the two canceled notes,” the complaint states. “Plaintiff had never heard of Redemption Strategies, but the Dec. 1, 2011 lawsuit filed by Redemption Strategies alleged that it had been assigned collection rights on the two canceled notes.
“As of Dec. 1, 2011 when the Redemption Strategies lawsuit was filed, all prior payments due on the promissory note had been made by plaintiff, the Dec. 1, 2011 payment itself under the promissory note was not yet overdue, the defendant attorneys had instructed plaintiff not to make payment on Dec. 1, 2011 to ‘Heroes Under God’ because the collection rights were being assigned to an unidentified third party, the defendant attorneys had provided no payment instructions or otherwise responded to plaintiff’s repeated phone calls, and no payments whatsoever were due at any time on the canceled notes (which had been voided, destroyed, and replaced by the promissory note without becoming effective).” (Parentheses in complaint).
McVeigh says Trinity Broadcasting’s attorneys filed the lawsuit against him secretly and waited until the day after to contact him.
He says the “baseless and malicious” lawsuit wrongfully accused him of conspiring with the Kopers to embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Kopers’ employers.
He claims that Trinity Broadcasting’s attorneys admitted in writing that the notes on which they were suing did not exist, but continued to pursue the meritless lawsuit until they were forced to dismiss it for fear of sanctions.
McVeigh seeks punitive and exemplary damages for malicious prosecution, and wants the defendants to acknowledge that he is not in default on the valid note.
He is represented by Timothy MacLeod with MacLeod & Greenberg of Irvine.