What long-awaited 2018 Harvest Bible Chapel audit says

  • The Harvest Bible branch at 1000 N. Randall Road in Elgin is helping serve as collateral for a $26 million mortgage.

      The Harvest Bible branch at 1000 N. Randall Road in Elgin is helping serve as collateral for a $26 million mortgage. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/24/2020 6:07 AM

The latest audit of the financial records of Harvest Bible Chapel shows that revenue declined almost 10% to $41.7 million in 2018, compared to 2017.

But half of it was due to taking an "impairment loss" for two assets: television broadcast time rights it sold in 2019, and vacant land it is selling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The 2018 audit by Capin Crouse of Naperville was published on the church's website Wednesday.

There are few references to the troubles the church experienced in late 2018 and throughout 2019, when its governance, financial practices and the leadership of founding pastor James MacDonald came under very public criticism. The church fired MacDonald in February 2019 and replaced its elder board.

The audit lists the church as having net assets of $96.5 million as of Dec. 31, 2018, compared to $101.2 million at the end of 2017.

The audit notes that the church sold its broadcast time on the TBN network for $4.1 million in cash in April 2019, and that Harvest's mortgage lender put $3.5 million of that in to a restricted mortgage reserve account.

The $42.3 million Harvest owed at the end of 2018 included $26.2 million on a mortgage due in August 2022, secured by church properties in Elgin and Chicago.

The audit notes that the church suspended matching employees' contributions to a 403(b) retirement plan for almost a year, from March 2019 to February.

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It also notes that in 2018, the church used the transportation company of a former, unnamed elder, for the second year in a row, at a total cost of $95,147. It also bought $100,000 of Class B shares in Harvest Bible Chapel Aurora LLC from another elder.

The church leases its campus at 101 S. Barnes Road in Aurora from Harvest Bible Chapel Aurora LLC. The lease expires in May.

According to the audit, someone has challenged the property-tax exemption for one of its campuses. It did not say which one. Writer Julie Roys ran a report on her website in January saying challenges have been filed on the Barnes Road property and on a Lake County property.

The church's 2017 audit was released more quickly, in April 2018.

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