Three years after his tearful confession of sin, Jimmy Swaggart is fending off creditors and struggling to rebuild his religious empire.

His TV ratings are one-fifth what they were at their peak, and seven stations from around the country and a contractor have sued over the past 15 months, claiming they are owed a total of $213,500, court records show.The Jimmy Swaggart Ministries also is selling off or leasing land and buildings.

Still, it would be a mistake to count Swaggart out, said Auburn University history professor David Harrell, who has written biographies of televangelists Oral Roberts and Pat Robertson.

"I'm reasonably sure Jimmy Swaggart is going to be around and is going to be a major player in the television ministry business," he said. "I've always felt he would survive because, in my opinion, he's the most talented of all the independent revivalists."