Saturday, July 21, 2007

Tammy Faye

Ginger has a post about redemption - the redemption of a figure of fun and scorn Tammy Faye Messner, the ex Mrs Jim Bakker of PTL scandal fame. Now you can go over and read that post to see about the resurrection of Tammy Faye's reputation. The Bakkers and PTL are almost entirely unknown in the UK. The English, sadly, missed out on the dial-a-prayer and the collapse of the 700 Club and the Christian building schemes and the rivulets of mascara stained tears. So there is absolutely no interest in the return of Tammy Faye as a exemplar of Christian acceptance here and I've missed out on the whole phenom.

But it did remind me of a book I read about the PTL scandal years ago. I don't have the book - I loaned it out reluctantly with much swearing on granma's grave that it would be returned to me - and I've never seen it again. I think it's out of print and I tried to Google it, but couldn't find it and I can't remember the exact name or the author. But it was brilliant.

I believe that it was written by a professor of accounting at the local university who sent his students on research trips and to sit in on the trial. (Isn't student slavery great? Some kids will do anything for extra credit.)

The book outlined the classic nature of the collapse. It was basically a case of fiscal recklessness and overextension and weak corporate governance. Yes, there was greed, but it was greed of the sort fueled by denying yourself too long. The Bakkers basically told themselves they deserved nice things after struggling and building up a church and offering salvation. And I finished the book thinking - they didn't set out to defraud. They did defraud when they realised they were over their heads and had to backfill, but I think they always thought that it would come good in the end.

I read it during a trip to Amsterdam while drink Dutch beer and overlooking the canals. It had chapter titles like Where were the non-executives? and Where was the audit committee? and I could hardly contain my suspense when the book addressed the question I had wanted to know Where were the auditors?

The book was a testament to the importance of process and transparency; the necessity of good corporate governance.

And it was so exciting, I never did manage to sneak a peak at the red light district.

2 comments:

GingerSnaps said...

Wow, she passed away a day & a half after that interview. That must've took every last ounce of strength she had. Bless her.

Great post...

Big D said...

VA,

you wrote a review of this book on amazon.com! I sent you a link to it at your work email.