Lawsuit Over Pat Robertson's Amazing Protein Milkshake
A lawsuit nearing trial has opened a rare window into the inner workings of Pat Robertson's Virginia Beach-based media empire. The lawsuit accuses Robertson of abusing his tax-exempt status by using the resources of his nonprofit TV ministry to promote a commercial product - a high-protein diet shake.
You can take away my delicious milkshake, when you pry it away from my cold dead fingers.
Nonsense, the televangelist has responded: The shake was a totally separate venture, not related in any way to his Christian Broadcasting Network.
Now a trail of e-mails and other internal correspondence, dating back more than a year before the lawsuit, indicates that Robertson and other CBN executives were closely involved in the development of the shake venture.
Uh oh, this sounds bad. But come on, there are worse things. It's not like Pat Robertson was involved in selling blood diamonds or anything. Oops. He did do that too.
In 1997, pilots for Robertson's tax-exempt humanitarian organization said its planes were used almost exclusively for the evangelist's African diamond mining operation, sparking an investigation by state charity regulators.
Then again, he with out sin, cast the first bloody stone. Amputations sometimes happen when you are running a diamond dungeon. Haven't we all done that?
A central allegation in the case is that Robertson and CBN conspired to promote the commercial shake using CBN's tax-exempt resources in violation of federal tax law - in other words, that they built a market for the product on airtime paid for by CBN donors and then cashed in on it.
In a variety of forums since then, Robertson and other CBN executives have insisted that the shake promoted on the nonprofit network and the ready-to-mix product sold in GNC stores are separate.
They are "two very discrete ventures," Louis Isakoff, a CBN attorney, told The Virginian-Pilot just after the lawsuit was filed.
Only an idiot couldn't figure this out. If God strikes a court house in Norfolk, Virginia, don't say Pat didn't tell you first. Oh, did he also tell you about his protein drink? It's delicious!
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