Former Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. sues school over $8.6 million pension payment

Jerry Falwell Jr., the disgraced former president of Liberty University, sued his former employer for nearly $8.5 million in retirement benefits he said the school wrongfully denied him .

A filing in federal district court in Lynchburg, Va., where the school is located, claims Liberty’s board of directors withheld payment last fall, two years after Mr. Falwell’s resignation in August 2020 has been accepted by the largest Christian university in the country with over 130,000 students. registered.

Mr. Falwell, 60, became president of Liberty in 2007 when his father and school founder, the Reverend Jerry Falwell Sr., died. Young Mr. Falwell had previously served as vice-chancellor and general counsel for the school since “the early 1990s”, according to the filing.

The payments were negotiated in July 2020, a month before Mr Falwell stepped down.

“While Mr. Falwell was president of Liberty, enrollment at Liberty grew from 9,600 residential students and 27,000 online students to 15,000 residential students and 108,000 online students. Through Mr. Falwell’s leadership, he helped steer Liberty away from financial ruin, while establishing Liberty as the world’s leading evangelical university and one of the nation’s largest private, not-for-profit universities with an endowment of nearly of $2 billion,” the complaint alleges. .

Mr. Falwell’s attorney, Vernon Inge, said in a Dec. 22 letter to directors that Mr. Falwell “was not terminated for cause” and that he “did not engage in competitive activity.” since leaving school.

But in April 2021, the school sued Mr. Falwell for $30 million, claiming he covered up his wife’s affair with Giancarlo Granda, a pool attendant whom the couple met in 2012. The school claims the former executive covered up knowledge of the case and other personal conduct issues while negotiating a 2019 contract extension that included payment of pension benefits.

On February 24, Liberty trustee chairman Carroll Hudson said that because of the university’s lawsuit against Mr Falwell, the school could not make the payment until that case was settled. . Mr Inge, in a letter to council, said the ongoing legal action against his client was no reason to withhold payment.

The Liberty University spokesperson did not immediately respond to a Washington Times request for comment. In a statement to the Lynchburg News & Advance newspaper, the school said it “will defend the new action on the same grounds it has already argued on record in the state’s case.”


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