2-Minute Charlotte: Big payday for Christian broadcaster

Inspirational Network CEO David Cerullo, photographed in 2009.
Inspirational Network CEO David Cerullo, photographed in 2009. JEFF SINER - jsiner@charlotteobs

2-Minute Charlotte gets you caught up on the day’s most important local news before your coffee has a chance to cool down. Today’s edition: 284 words. Expected reading time: 1 minute, 25 seconds.

Business is good down in the “City of Light” in Indian Land, S.C. Inspirational Network CEO David Cerullo brought home nearly $5.7 million in 2013, according to tax records. A spokesman for the organization says his pay is set by an independent committee that takes into account salaries at similarly sized cable and media companies as well as churches.

THE BACK STORY: The Inspirational Network is one of the fastest growing Christian organizations in the country, and today broadcasts to 175 million homes around the world. Revenue has boomed over the past 15 years, going from $15 million to $165 million. Cerullo has long been one of the most handsomely paid executives at Christian charities. Here’s a similar story back in 2009.

WHY THIS MATTERS: Remember Jim Bakker? The Charlotte-area televangelist’s PTL Club went bankrupt in the late 1980s amid all sorts of scandals and a fraud conviction. Ever since then, this community’s been super sensitive about Christian organizations that make a lot of money. The story about Elevation Church leader Steven Furtick’s home was another example of that. Yes, the Inspirational Network is huge. But the pay raises the question yet again: When you work for a charity, what’s fair?

What people are talking about

WILL THE PUBLIC GET TO WATCH THE KERRICK TRIAL? Media attorneys argued Thursday for the judge to allow cameras in the courtroom when testimony starts next week. He should decide Friday.

IT’S SUPER DRY: Severe drought is creeping toward Charlotte, and water restrictions could be coming soon.

What to watch for

FAST LANE: Time Warner Cable’s super fast Internet speeds are rolling out this week.

TAX FREE S.C.: They don’t happen in North Carolina anymore, but South Carolina is having a tax-free weekend starting Aug. 7.