He brought down Robert Tilton, W.V. Grant and Larry Lea, three of Dallas' high-flying televangelists in the early 1990s. And when he wasn't diving in dumpsters to pick through preachers' trash, he was entertaining journalists from around the world at "The Block," Trinity Foundation's collection of homes in East Dallas.
Reporters, heathen bunch that they are, found much to admire at Ole Anthony's Columbia Avenue compound: a small group of believers living simply, dwelling together and sharing their possessions, much like the early Christians; a charismatic, highly intelligent leader who challenged the compromised state of American Christianity; and a foundation dedicated to helping the homeless as well as hunting down slippery TV preachers.
I remember a reporter who broke some of those stories on the televangelists telling me only a little facetiously that the person we really needed to investigate was Ole Anthony. But let's be honest, folks: We in the media were too busy begging Anthony for the next collection of dirt on America's shadier televangelists so we could call it our own. Then former Trinity member Wendy Duncan came out with a self-published book a few months ago called I Can't Hear God Anymore; in it, she describes Trinity as a cult and depicts Anthony as a manipulative, deceitful bully.
We must admit she kind of forced our hand. Dallas Observer investigative reporter Glenna Whitley set out to determine whether any of Duncan's claims hold water. And you'll find the result of her work in today's cover story, "The Cult of Ole." You don't want to miss this special report. It's hitting Dallas newsstands right now.
Starting tomorrow right in this space, Glenna will also report some intriguing stuff about the famous Robert Tilton Primetime Live expose that you've never heard before.
Also in this issue: Richie Whitt asks Keith Davis what really happened, and much, much more. --Julie Lyons