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.

    • #4064
      Uncle Tió

      Brooklyn Tabernacle Pastors:
      Here is a guide for you to use when determining how to handle the terrible stories you read and hear.

      – When a harrowing story is told in a book with Jim Cymbala’s name on it, it’s called an inspiring story of courage and resilience.

      – When the story is told online, it’s called gossip and complaining.

      – When the story is about Jim Cymbala, it can only be attributed to the devil and his working.

    • #4257
      Not Right

      These scandals aren’t the half of what’s happening at BT. The leadership at this place is morally depraved.


      • #4262

        You say “the leadership at this place is morally depraved”.

        I dont know what is the problem with the associate pastors,but I believe Jim Cymbala’s problem has a deep root of jealousy (insecurity) which he has never dealt with. (Notice the stories he always tells,how his father never made it to his wedding.Why keep telling that then to say you are only joking? You know that must have been traumatic).

        He is like a Saul.

        David was tested by God before he got to the throne,Saul never really was.And David’s heart proved right and stayed faithful to God.

        I have always wondered,what exactly was Jim Cymbala’s personal conviction story with God? Has anyone ever heard it?

        I’ve heard the testimony of him being in the business world,never expecting to be a pastor. I’ve heard of how they were prophesied over at their wedding. I’ve heard of how he grew up in church. I’ve heard of all the things God did for the church.

        But what was his actual personal encounter with God,that brought him to his knees,like they ask you in your membership interview? Does anyone know? I can’t say that I have ever heard such.

        Did he just get into the ministry through being raised in church,and meeting and marrying Carol? By appointment by his father-in-law?I think that may make for a big difference between  true heart service.The Saul and the David.

        I believe Jim Cymbala is a damaged man who never really healed from all his experiences and hides it all behind the cloak of ministry.

        He is not a person who should be in a position of power and authority.

        May the Lord have mercy on him, and those associate pastors when the time comes for being accomplices to his deeds.

        Sadly,us his congregation have and are paying the price.

    • #4263
      Paul W

      Nepotism at its finest.

      Brian Pettrey the new “Chief of Staff” 🤣🤣 makes enough money in parsonage to live in a $7,000/mo home. PLUS salary!


      BT Staff, how much do YOU make? BT Congregation, how much do you GIVE? Do you get it now?

    • #4267
      Paul W

      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.

      I nearly forgot about their vacation home they built in Florida during the pandemic! It’s hard to keep up!

    • #4317
      BT Too

      I have been reading in Amos and came to this verse. I am praying for all the victims of Brooklyn Tabernacle and Jim Cymbala.


      Amos 5:10-12

      You people hate anyone who challenges injustice and speaks the whole truth in court.

      You have oppressed the poor and robbed them of their grain. And so you will not live in the fine stone houses you build or drink wine from the beautiful vineyards you plant.

      I know how terrible your sins are and how many crimes you have committed.

      You persecute good people, take bribes, and prevent the poor from getting justice in the courts.

    • #4341
      BT Volunteer

      Alex Burgos
      Jerry Park
      Lincoln Fritz
      Tamara Fritz
      Charles Hammond
      Floyd Johnson

      You ok with this?


      Hi seeker. I am with you. I can’t go there either.

      PJC touched my friend multiple times. She also grew up at BT and shes devastated and confused.

      BT was everything we knew. I don’t know of a good church. I am still looking for one.

      • #4349

        The shame of it all, is that by willfully turning a blind eye to all of Jim Cymbala sexuallly abusive behavior and his family abuse of power and financial thievery they have become complicit. They are heirlings and instead of calling him out for his abuse they would rather protect their position so as not to have to be the  next victim of Jim’s wrath and angry outbursts. But as with Ravi, who probably thought he would get away with it all, Jim will be exposed and they will be as well for being co conspirators. We need more victims to come forward and tell their story. It’s the only way. They have nothing to fear because God is their shield and defense.

    • #4348

      @BTVolunteer. This is not okay!!!


      Listen Up BT:

    • #4433


      In light of the accusations and stories on this forum, and in a world of Christian leaders who have been exposed sexually abusing their congregants, I who follows stories like these wanted to make sure that readers of this page are aware:

      Deadline to file is November 23, 2023

      “Over the past 10 months, the New York Adult Survivors Act has allowed hundreds of accusers to file lawsuits against alleged sexual abusers even after the statute of limitations on their claims had run out. But the groundbreaking legislation is set to expire at midnight on Nov. 23—and lawyers are now scrambling to file as many complaints as possible before then.

      “I have cleared my schedule for the week of Thanksgiving and am on call for anyone who wants to discuss filing an [Adult Survivors Act] claim before the window closes,” Megan Goddard, who has at least three lawsuits under the act, told The Daily Beast. “Abusers have been hiding behind statutes of limitations, arbitration clauses, and threats of retribution forever. The [Adult Survivors Act] flipped the script.”

      The state law signed last May granted survivors a one-year window to sue alleged abusers or their estates for incidents that occurred when they were over the age of 18. The act, which mirrored the 2019 Child Victims Act for those abused as minors, also allowed New Yorkers to sue businesses, institutions, hospitals, or even jails that they allege enabled the conduct, regardless of when it happened….

      “We have a number of things percolating,” Valdi Licul, an attorney who filed a lawsuit under the act against the New York State attorney general on behalf of a former aide, told The Daily Beast. “We still have a few weeks left, and if any victim out there has any potential claim, go get the advice of [legal] counsel before the window closes. People can reach out to lawyers until the last day.””

      Rest of the article: https://www.thedailybeast.com/a-tidal-wave-of-sex-abuse-claims-hits-ny-as-loophole-closes

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