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Clark may sue to recover plastic surgery money

FORT MILL, S.C. -- Bankruptcy trustee David Clark said he may try to recover ministry money that PTL founders Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and their top aides spent for a series of facelifts, breast enlargements and tummy tucks.

Clark said he may file a suit to recover the costs of surgery that was not paid by medical insurance, as well as $15 million the Internal Revenue Service says the Bakkers and their aides were paid between 1984 and 1987.

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The suit could commence in 'in a matter of weeks,' he said.

But Clark acknowledged Thursday it may be hard to recover money from the Bakkers for their plastic surgery because their appearance was important to their roles as TV personalities.

But Clark said, 'There's no such justification (for the plastic surgery) for anyone else.'

The IRS, in a listing of personal benefits to former PTL officials, cited $4,069 paid on Tammy Bakker's behalf to the Charlotte Plastic Surgery Center in 1985.

PTL employees said they believe Tammy Bakker had fat removed from her thighs, abdomen and hips, and that she also had a tummy tuck and breast enlargement.

Jim Bakker and his personal assistant, David Taggart, also had plastic surgery, officials said.

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Bakker's former bodyguard, Don Hardister, said he told the IRS last summer that Bakker and Taggart went to Palm Springs, Calif. in November 1982, so Bakker could have 'a complete face-lift, with the eyes, under the chin, the ears.' Taggart had his nose made smaller and his chin enlarged.

According to a 1985 IRS report, Bakker and Taggart paid for the trip with a $25,000 cash advance, although PTL submitted no records to show the medical procedures were performed.

Clark also said he intends to look into the number of personal aides Bakker had and may sue to recover some of their salaries and property.

He said Taggart 'walked away from this minstry with an incredible amount of money. He has an apartment in Trump Tower in New York that's filled with antiques we paid for.'

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