By Rick Alan Ross

People often ask what makes cult leaders tick?

What motivates them to become cult leaders?

One answer to that question is cold cash.

Many cult leaders have learned that they can become rich while ruining people’s lives.

For example, the notorious NXIVM “sex cult” leader Keith Raniere, who reportedly bilked a billionaire’s daughters out of more than $100 million.

But long before Raniere began his scam another purported “cult leader” left South Dakota and moved to a warmer climate in Florida. His name was Charles Meade and he once led a church that many considered a “cult” called “End Times Ministries.”

Meade lived behind the walls of his Lake City, Florida compound in relative seclusion very privately. Not only was his house gated and secured, so too was the church he built in Lake City, with its guarded entrance and barbed wire.

Meade died more than a decade ago.

Meade’s residence sold a few months after his death for only $94,000 and then again in March 2012 for $200,000. Very little considering its current list price.

The Meade compound is now on the market listed at $2.5 million, though Zillow says it is worth less than half of the asking price, pegging its market value at $740,700.00.

It is interesting to see the online photos and realize what an opulent lifestyle Meade enjoyed within his gated private compound. calls Meade’s home a “Hidden gem! Great neighborhood located 2 Miles from I-75 in Lake City, FL. This is a great investment opportunity. Entire ranch estate sits on 22.43 acres. There are a total of 27 Buildings, including 14 residences! Residences can be used as income properties or guest facilities. The main house (976 SW Hamlet Cir) is a 4/4 with 2 kitchens and has a total of 6700 SF. The property also features a 1750sf greenhouse, 100kw generator, 2990sf 2 story guest barn w/3BR cottage & office, 3200 sf glass enclosure with swimming pool, Outdoor Kitchen, 1170sf guest cottage, special Creekside Cabana beside the manmade creek & waterfall. This would make a great wedding venue or retreat!”

See the photos and you might just think that being a cult leader can really pay off. It certainly did for Charles Meade.


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