Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University Dogged By Claims of Corruption

September 27, 2019

Since January 2016, when Free University President Jerry Falwell Jr supported Donald Trump as president, this influential evangelical university has been rapidly moving towards the core of American politics. Falwell has become a frequent visitor to the White House because of his loyal support to help Trump gain Christian rights.

At the same time, the university was founded in 1971 by his late father, Rev Jerry Falwell Sr, and expanded exponentially. According to Falwell Jr, the assets of the non-profit university in Lynchburg, Virginia, are reported to have grown from $259 million in 2007 to more than $3 billion and have more than 100,000 students.

But recently, a series of alleged scandals seem to threaten Farwell’s control over power. This week, due to corruption allegations and Falwell’s own demand for the FBI, the stakes increased even higher.

On Monday, Politico published a report citing more than 24 current and former “advanced” free officials, claiming they lost confidence in him. It claims that Falwell “hosts a self-transactional culture, bringing university resources to projects and real estate transactions, and his friends and family can earn personal economic gains through these transactions.”

Jim Gus, a professor of political and international affairs at Furman University, and a religious rights expert, said: “People’s response to all these reports in the free network has become very uneasy. For several years, it seems to be getting more and more serious, I think Some aspects are similar to what is happening in the politically larger evangelical community. Although it still supports Mr. Fallwell’s favorite politician, President Trump, there seems to be more and more approval Cracks – and I think that in his network, Falwell’s image will do the same thing.

He said that conservative evangelical preferences for “strong political leaders” may make criticizing authorities difficult, but he believes that increasing pressure on Fawell may lead to leadership challenges.

“I’m not sure what to expect from this point. I think that given the opposition and attention of the board and other places in Liberty, you may see his leadership being challenged within the organization in the coming months.”

Last year, Falwell was associated with a college business transaction, allegedly beneficial to his personal trainer, Benjamin Crosswhite, who reportedly helped buy college property. Falwell is also said to have had close deals with Trump’s former private lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Cohen, who has served three years in prison, said he helped the university president deal with some sexy “personal” photos in 2015. Farwell denied these claims.

In January, the Wall Street Journal reported that John Gauger, the chief information officer and analyst vice president of Liberty, the owner of RedFinch Solutions LLC, was hired by Cohen to try an online poll to support Trump before the presidential campaign. According to reports, he was also asked to create a @WomenForCohen account – which he called “a powerful bulldog, gender symbol” – to enhance his image.

An article by Politico recently claimed that Falwell hired his son Trey’s company to manage all of the university’s shopping centers, borrow money from the university and award college contracts to friends. “We are not a school; it is reported that we are a real estate hedge fund.

The magazine also released photos of Falwell and Trey on the dance floor of the Miami nightclub in 2014, prompting Falwell to claim that the photos have been “photographed.” Freedom is very strict with such activities – it is reported that students may be punished for “negligent” by dancing with members of the opposite sex and may be expelled for drinking.

On Tuesday, Farwell made a striking response to the article. He claimed that this was an “failed coup” and “crime” campaign, claiming that he would ask the FBI to investigate.

He told the Associated Press that “I will not respond to the lies reported yesterday, but I will go to the authorities, I will go to the civil court,” he said it was a “little boy.”

The FBI declined to comment.

On Thursday, Reuters issued a statement that Falwell said in the email that the students were “emotional imbalances and physical sluggishness”, and the university police chief called it “semi-intelligence.” Liberty did not comment on the report.

Liberty declined the request to comment on the Politico statement, but instructed Guardian to post a 19-page document on the university’s website on Friday. It claims to list the “Free University’s statement on recent commercial transactions that have been questioned in the media” for the three publications, and said: “Everyone chooses not to report on the free university side, leaving no Fair public narrative.”

While Falwell may have proved pivotal to Trump’s election in 2016 – and universities like Liberty remain an important platform for Republicans – his political influence could be on the wane.

Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Centre for Politics and author of The Bellwether: Why Ohio Picks the President, said: “From Trump’s perspective, he is a proven commodity now with white evangelical Christians to the point where I don’t think he needs outside validation from figures in the white evangelical movement such as Falwell … It also leads on to the question [of] how much value Mike Pence has to Trump now.”