‘Mormon Land’: The Huntsman suit, the church’s $100B account and the state of LDS finances

Tax law professor explains why the fraud case likely won’t prevail, why the IRS whistleblower complaint likely won’t succeed, and why the faith should be more transparent about its money.

(Rick Egan | Salt Lake Tribune file photo) The Church Office Building of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in downtown Salt Lake City in 2017. The faith faces a fraud lawsuit from former member James Huntsman.

James Huntsman, a member of a prominent Latter-day Saint family, recently accused The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of fraud and sued to recover millions of dollars in tithing.

Huntsman alleges that the global faith has “repeatedly and publicly lied” about its use of billions of dollars in member donations solicited to pay for missionary work, temple-building and other educational and charitable operations.

Citing a whistleblower’s much-publicized IRS complaint about the church’s $100 billion “rainy day” fund, Huntsman’s federal lawsuit states that millions instead went toward commercial enterprises.

On this week’s podcast, Sam Brunson, a Latter-day Saint and a tax law professor at Loyola University in Chicago, talks about the lawsuit, the church’s investment reserves, its tax implications and the faith’s finances.

Subscribe to Mormon Land on Apple Podcasts or listen here.

Editor’s note • James Huntsman is a brother of Paul Huntsman, chairman of the nonprofit Salt Lake Tribune’s board of directors.