Jim Cymbala Scandals

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    • #3948
      BT Volunteer

      Multiple scandals are currently rocking The Brooklyn Tabernacle. As more and more people have posted on this site, I have been reading these posts as well as the background information this site has provided, and I am frankly stunned by what has been happening before our eyes. Visitors to the church may not even know these are happening behind the scenes, except for the strange sermons and devotionals that emanate from Jim Cymbala as he rails against “those people on social media” and calling those who are exposing his scandalous behavior as “having the spirit of antichrist.” He’s even gone so far to say that those who left the church may also have the spirit of antichrist and haven’t heard from God. For new readers to this site, let’s summarize which scandals have been revealed here so far.

      1. Jim Cymbala is accused of molesting a young boy, and others, in the 1970s. The Lawsuit mentions “a serial sexual predator who sexually abused and assaulted Plaintiff and other minors.” Paul Brewer (the victim in in the lawsuit) has identified Jim Cymbala as that pastor on this forum.

      2. Jim Cymbala is embroiled in multiple lawsuits regarding the 190 Livingston Street building project. This stems from pipes at Dallas BBQs that began to leak during Brooklyn Tabernacle’s construction process. Just a few years prior, these pipes were owned by and were the responsibility of The Brooklyn Tabernacle until they sold the building to Thor Equities. The Brooklyn Tabernacle began construction by jackhammering enormous “concrete bunkers” (as he often called them). Subsequently, the pipes started to leak. Jim Cymbala and The Brooklyn Tabernacle then sued Thor and BBQs directly for these leaks.

      The church’s conduct in the lawsuit proceedings has been described as:
      False accusations. Obfuscation. Denying appropriate access. Combative and litigious. Forging a sworn affidavit. Committing a criminal act. “…utter disdain and disregard for judicial process….” “I am personally shocked that anyone, let alone a church, would behave in this manner during a pandemic.”
      Boy, do I agree with that!

      3. The enormous cost of the 190 Livingston Street building project. Before the project began, Jim Cymbala declared that once completed, The Brooklyn Tabernacle would be a debt-free church, and furthermore would have a surplus of money. So much so that they could give to new mission projects and begin other churches. The reality is that the 190 Livingston Street project has costs projected at upwards of $60 million. They are still multiple tens of millions of dollars in debt, including a $20 million loan they secured to complete the project. What’s worse, the congregants lost the use of the 1st and 2nd floors of 180 Livingston Street as they were sold off. In addition, the BBQs restaurant space that provided rental income was also sold. (There were originally 3 finished floors: 1st floor, 2nd floor, and the Youth Center in the basement as well as an unfinished subbasement + the BBQs restaurant.) They now have only 2 underground floors. You can see this immediately when entering 190 by the new downward escalator that meets all congregants. As I read through the financial information page on this site, it broke down the cost of this project and found that if they never sold off their property, they would have been in a substantially better position, both in total usable space as well as their financial position. Because the church has not provided construction budget actuals, there are questions about how a project of this size reached such an exorbitant cost.

      4. The Brooklyn Tabernacle falsely reported Annual Meetings and official congregational votes. Prior to January 23, 2015, as an Article 8 church, members were to formally participate and vote on business matters. This was to be done at a separate, prior-announced, formal church-wide business meeting and not during a church service.

      Typically, what would actually happen is during a church service, and without any knowledge of the congregation that official business was taking place, Jim Cymbala would casually ask the congregation on a matter. In fact, in 2014, the congregation unknowingly voted to remove their rights to vote as a congregation and changed the Church structure to an Article 9 church.

      5. Jim Cymbala’s ties to a known sexual predator – Ravi Zacharias. As the site mentions, “The late years of Ravi’s life were tumultuous with calls for repentance and ongoing exposure of grievous alleged crimes, abuses, and corrupt activity, lasting beyond his passing… Ravi spoke at TBT numerous times over the years, and he traveled together with Jim to minister at events around the globe.” Jim Cymbala traveled many times abroad with Ravi Zacharias, including China and Moscow.

      6. Carol Cymbala reportedly labeled her choir members with an “F”, identifying those who were overweight. There are no words adequate for this behavior.

      7. Jim and Carol Cymbala stayed in their Florida vacation home for nearly a year and a half during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a state of emergency was declared and the shutdown of NYC began, Jim and Carol Cymbala took another trip to their vacation home in Florida “to just rest.” Apparently, Jim Cymbala was told (by whom is not clear) “don’t get on an airplane, don’t go anywhere” during the pandemic, so they left their congregation in New York and stayed in Florida. This didn’t stop Jim and Carol from traveling all around the East Coast and having multiple visitors to their Florida home during the pandemic. They did return back to New York City shortly before their granddaughter was to be married at the church, July 2021.

      8. Brian and Sue Pettrey (the daughter and son-in-law of Jim and Carol Cymbala) purchased and built their own vacation home in Florida during the pandemic. Apparently, while others were forced to work within the tristate, the Cymbala and Pettrey families got to get some sun in the Sunshine State. After building their vacation home, the Pettreys asked for over $20,000 on a Go Fund Me page for belongings they lost during a severe weather event in NYC.

      9. Who Paid for Pastor Daniel Iampaglia’s Legal Fees in 2016? “According to Sue E. Cruz, Jim Cymbala paid for Dan Iampaglia’s defense attorney, once charges were filed against him for petit larceny when he was accused of stealing money from his own church’s offering plate at The Rock Church.” “Questions remain as to whether it was not Jim Cymbala, but actually the tithe payers of BT that paid for Iampaglia’s defense attorney.” What I would like to know is WHY is Jim Cymbala or the Brooklyn Tabernacle paying for Dan Iampaglia’s defense?

      10. What really happened to Leslie Cymbala? Why are there questions surrounding her apparent suicide? “Me and many I know were considering leaving BT because of what you mentioned and the questions surrounding his daughter-in-law’s death.”

      11. Staff and congregation members alike are cutting ties. As one post states, “congregation members are dropping like flies from BT. staff is being fired. they’ve brought in their granddaughter, their grandson, and their spouses on staff. the nepotism is beyond words. $$$” As more and more staff and congregation members understand the full scope of the financial, spiritual, and sexual corruption at The Brooklyn Tabernacle, more will inevitably find membership at a healthier and safer place of worship.

    • #3954

      6. Carol Cymbala reportedly labeled her choir members with an “F”, identifying those who were overweight. There are no words adequate for this behavior.

      I didn’t see her labeling choir members with an F with my own eyes, but I didn’t have to. I know more than a handful of my brothers and sisters were sat down from the Singers and choir for being overweight. They were told to go get help for “their problem.” This was obviously crushing to them and was it handled in the most unloving way. Unfortunately Pastor Cymbala and Carol have got to have “that look” and that comes at a price.

      She and her team would hand pick who were in the front rows of the choir. We were told in choir rehearsal who sat in the front and who were delegated to the back. I think all my brothers and sisters are beautiful, but there was absolutely a sense that those who they felt looked better on camera were placed in front. Pastor Cymbala has told me on a few occasions to go get a dress or to fix up my hair a certain way. It felt strange when he said those kinds of things and now it feels less pastor/father and even more weird.

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