Charity or insurance? Md. cracks down on Ohio minister

September 01, 1994|By Patricia Meisol | Patricia Meisol,Sun Staff Writer

The Maryland Insurance Administration has issued a second cease-and-desist order against an Ohio religious organization that solicits members through a newsletter and asks them to pay $50 a month toward members' health care costs.

State regulators ordered the Christian Brotherhood Newsletter of Baberton, Ohio, to stop soliciting members and cease operations in Maryland, saying the practice amounted to selling insurance without a license. Its first order in January 1993 was overturned by a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge.

The newsletter, started by the Rev. Bruce Hawthorn asks subscribers to send $50 for 11 months to needy people featured in the newsletter, and, in the 12th month, to send $50 to the Ohio publisher. The organization says it oversees the distribution of $3 million annually.

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