Pastor 1

Jan. 4, 2003

By Jacob Quinn Sanders
The Desert Sun

David Tyrell Moore and his wife Sonya I. Moore received more than $1.8 million from Southwest Community Church and a separate nonprofit ministry known as Moore on Life between 1997 and 2001, records obtained by The Desert Sun show.

Included in that number: $10,209 from the ministry as the first payment for Sonya Moore’s car expenses as its vice president; at least $100,000 annually from the ministry in David Moore’s royalties; and $23,704 in church payments for their home security. That does not include the $258,857 the ministry paid him for expenses and other allowances.

State and county law-enforcement agencies and Southwest Community itself continue to examine records pertaining to the church and to the ministry.

No investigator has alleged wrongdoing on the part of Moore or that of his wife.

Moore called The Desert Sun on Friday evening to respond to a letter outlining information for this story.

“This makes me look like a crook,” he said. “This is not the truth.”

Moore had not responded to at least a dozen attempts to contact him in recent weeks before receiving the letter.

Brad Davies, Moore on Life executive director and Moore’s son-in-law, said in an e-mail sent Nov. 29 that neither Moore nor his wife had received any money improperly.

“Apart from Sonya Moore’s salary, not a dime of donation money has ever gone to benefit the Moore’s personally,” he wrote. “To the Moores credit, legitimate business expenses that could have been picked up by Moore On Life was paid for by the Moores from royalties earned at speaking engagements and or a 10% royalty on product sales.”

Southwest Community paid Moore, its former senior pastor, an annual salary of $250,000, Moore said in a telephone interview Nov. 20.

Federal tax returns from his nonprofit ministry, Moore on Life, list under the heading “expense accounts and other allowances” $258,867 over two years – $142,515 in 2000 and $116,352 in 2001. That is in addition to travel and other business expenses, which are listed separately on those returns.

Moore said in the telephone interview he had no expense account and that the returns showed no such account.

“No,” he said. “No way. Never happened.”

Moore did not elaborate.

Davies, however, acknowledged in an interview in his office Nov. 28 that Moore on Life maintained an expense account for Moore. Davies said he did not know how Moore spent the expense account money.

“He doesn’t tell me much about what he spends the money on,” Davies said. “I don’t have a lot of the receipts.”

Davies declined a request for a further interview to clarify the issue.

The returns, known formally as Form 990 and filed under the name Paradigm Ministries with the Internal Revenue Service, show Moore, 49, receiving more than $100,000 in royalties annually from sales of CDs, tapes and MP3 files of his sermons from 1997 to 2001.

Sonya Moore, 46, was the only Moore on Life officer or director to receive a salary – $35,000 annually.

Moore also received four Southwest Community checks totaling $23,704 issued between Jan. 4, 1999, and May 27, 1999, that went toward security at their $635,000 La Quinta home, church finance records show.

Moore resigned as Southwest Community’s senior pastor Nov. 23.

From Southwest Community, Moore also received other perks, such as a rented plane May 14, 1999, to take his son, Tyson, to the Grand Canyon to meet daredevil Robbie Knievel, said Sondra Beck, assistant administrator in charge of the church’s finance department from 1994 to 1999.

Beck is married to John Beck, Southwest Community board chairman from 1992 to 1998. Both said they left after management disagreements with Moore.

In addition, a memo prepared in late 2000 by then-executive director Gordon K. Marcy said that Moore on Life agreed without board approval to pay the lease, gas, maintenance and insurance on Sonya Moore’s car out of money David Moore donated to the ministry from his royalties.

The first such bill Moore on Life paid was for $10,209, according to the memo.

“Thus far, the donation amount cannot be found in MOL’s bank statements,” Marcy wrote in the memo. “MOL has also made additional car payments.”

Former Moore on Life director Terry McGann, who resigned in protest of such spending practices Nov. 19, said the board was required by its bylaws to sign off on such expenditures.

Bruce R. Hopkins, a nonprofit and charitable organizations lawyer who has written eight books on the subjects, said Moore’s donations to the ministry for his wife’s car expenses were “inappropriate.”

“You can’t make a donation to a nonprofit for the express use of one person,” Hopkins said in a telephone interview from his office at the firm of Polsinelli Shalton & Welte in Kansas City. “It’s not a deductible gift in the first place because it’s for his wife’s use.”

Despite the criticism, which began publicly after topless hot-tub photographs surfaced showing Moore and his wife with another woman, Moore is moving ahead.

Through Moore on Life, he scheduled a rally for 10 a.m. Sunday at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio.

Earlier, he sent out a fund-raising letter shortly after he resigned, announcing Moore on Life’s new direction as an Internet ministry.

“We would love you to continue your friendship and connectedness with us,” Moore wrote in the letter, “as we make this radical change in how we deliver our teaching and ministry to you.”

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