Former PTL leader Jim Bakker says he and his wife, Tammy, should have a chance to salvage the failing ministry before its liquidation in bankruptcy court.

"I think everybody else has had a chance," Bakker told reporters Tuesday outside PTL headquarters. "It's gone through so many regimes; it's being sold off. What would be wrong with giving Jim and Tammy a chance?"Similar previous pleas by the PTL founder to leaders who succeeded him have been rebuffed.

PTL's opinion that Bakker could never return as the ministry's leader has not changed, ministry spokesman David West said Tuesday. U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Rufus Reynolds, who is overseeing the ministry's bankruptcy reorganization, "agrees with the legal opinion presented by our attorneys that Bakker cannot return," West said.

Bakker, who left the television ministry in March 1987 amid a sex-and-money scandal, returned to PTL's Heritage USA theme park at the request of Roe Messner, its primary builder and PTL's second-largest creditor.

Bakker said the meeting was to back up Messner's claims against PTL in bankruptcy proceedings.

He said he was shocked by what he heard in the meeting with Messner and attorneys for PTL, Messner and Bakker. Bakker said most the rec-ords left behind when he left PTL were destroyed. "Almost all of the blueprints of all the buildings are missing," he said.

When asked who might have destroyed the records, he said, "Any of them who might want to take over the ministry."