"Burn the Qur'an" Church Has Interesting Financial Practices
Terry Jones, the controversial pastor behind the recent call to burn copies of the Quran on Sept. 11, runs a church that spends most of its money on administrative expenses and operates a furniture business out his church in Gainesville, FL.
According to the 2006 tax return---the most recent tax return available on Guidestar.org---filed by Jones' church, the Dove World Outreach Center, "program services" accounted for 30.5 percent of the church's expenses, while "Administrative costs" accounted for 69.5 percent.
Jones and his wife, Sylvia, sell used furniture through their ebay.com store "TS and Company", the profits of which they say support the church's food pantry "Lisa Jones House." In 2009, Jones told the Gaineville Sun, "At least part of those proceeds are funneled back into the church," but declined to say what percentage of profits go back into the church and how much the company makes.
TS and Company is not Jones' only online business---he also sells the book he authored, "Islam is of the Devil", as well as mugs, tee shirts and hats on another website he operates---Islamisofthedevil.com.
And an online real estate listing may indicate Jones is looking for other ways to drum up some cash. According to the listing on real estate website AllisonAbles.com, the Dove World Church is for sale for 2.9 million. The listing says the property has been "reduced $1.1 million for a quick sale".
Other sources of revenue include the church's school, DWOC Academy for Apostolic Church Building, which charges students $500 a semester to train people to" become strong and stable to build apostolic churches that can overcome the challenges of our time." The website says registration for 2010 is closed, but in 2009 a church spokeswoman told the Gainesville Sun there were 6 members enrolled in the academy.
Though the church once enjoyed tax-exempt status, it lost part of that status this spring, according to the Alachua County Property Appraiser's office. A representative from the appraiser's office visited Dove World Outreach Center March 25th, and determined the church must pay taxes on the 1,700 square feet of its property that is being used for the Jones' for-profit business. The church will pay $3,200 in property taxes this year.