As the fallout from James MacDonald’s ouster from Harvest Bible Chapel–the church he founded–continues, a new series of allegations of financial mismanagement have surfaced.
MacDonald’s former bodyguard Jacob Ross sent a letter to church leadership that was leaked to journalist Julie Roys, explaining MacDonald was unhappy with the $5,000 budget he’d been allotted for a vacation. According to Roys, MacDonald wanted to hunt a “high-value animal” as part of his African safari, “a sable to be specific, which cost $15,000 to $20,000.”
Harvest complied and wired MacDonald the extra money. The former pastor justified the money, “citing his stress from the trip and need for a relaxing vacation doing something he enjoyed.”
On the same “missions trip,” MacDonald, Ross and Harvest Executive Pastor Jeff Donaldson stayed at a resort in the Dominican Republic and flew their wives down to join them, all on the church’s dime. There are numerous other allegations of lavish church spending in Roys’ detailing of several letters written by former church staffers. These allegations include hundreds of dollars spent on fancy cigars, a $150,000 remodel of MacDonald’s office as the rest of the staff took a pay cut and a $40,000 fence for trophy deer. Roys says she has more letters, and further revelations may be on the way.
Some of those allegations include details about MacDonald’s behavior toward staff. Several former staffers accuse MacDonald of bullying, mocking, intimidating and otherwise verbally abusing the people who worked for him. Ross said he quit being MacDonald’s bodyguard after his boss called him things like “stupid,” “incompetent,” “worthless” and “of no use to him.” He says he wrote a letter with details about MacDonald’s spending habits because “[t]hose who are seeking to make the correct decision regarding the future of Harvest Bible Chapel simply can’t without the correct information.”