Dallas televangelist Marcus Lamb and his Daystar Television Network reportedly returned its $3.9 million Paycheck Protection Program loan after an investigation raised questions about the network’s purchase of a private jet.
CBS’ Inside Edition found that the tax-exempt religious network bought a “multimillion-dollar” private jet just two weeks after receiving a federal PPP loan intended to support employees through the pandemic.
Daystar said the jet, a 1997 Gulfstream V, was purchased at less than half its market value and used for ministry work, according to Inside Edition. Gulfstream V jets from 1997 and similar years sell for $8 million to $10 million on popular private jet marketplaces and can comfortably seat 14 passengers.
Inside Edition found that the jet had been used for beach and golf trips for Lamb and his family. At least one trip was described in social media posts as a family vacation, which Lamb claimed was a “working vacation.” Lamb is Daystar’s president and CEO.
In a statement, Daystar spokesperson Arnold Torres told The Dallas Morning News that “the PPP loan has already been paid back in full, and with interest.” Torres said the jet was purchased in April with the proceeds of an investment the network made in 2012 before receiving any PPP funds “because it was a great deal, and a safer aircraft.”
“Daystar applied for a PPP loan because many experts were saying we might have another Great Depression. We wanted to make sure that our hundreds of employees would be paid and not lose their jobs,” Torres said.
When asked about the repayment, the U.S. Small Business Administration, which oversees the PPP program, told The News that the agency “does not comment on individual borrowers.”
Headquartered in Bedford, Daystar Television has been in operation for more than three decades and has a loyal evangelical Christian following. Daystar describes itself as one of the two largest Christian TV networks in the world with 70 stations that reach a potential audience of 100 million U.S. households.
According to news reports from 2010, Daystar has been valued at $230 million and employed hundreds. The network has given a platform to well-known televangelists, including Joel Osteen and Bishop T.D. Jakes, in the past.
The Lamb family, including Lambs’ wife Joni, have used their platforms to advertise prayer events in conjunction with the Trump family as well as to promote anti-vaccination organizations. In November, Daystar encouraged its members to sign a petition urging the Supreme Court to either recount or overturn the presidential election results and institute a revote.
By Dom DiFurio