Apr 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Liberty University sues Jerry Falwell Jr. for $10 million

Jerry Falwell speaking during a commencement at Liberty University in May 2017 in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Jerry Falwell Jr. speaking during a commencement at Liberty University in May 2017 in Lynchburg, Va. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Liberty University is suing its former president Jerry Falwell Jr. for $10 million for allegedly breaching his contract and fiduciary duty, according to the New York Times, which reviewed the lawsuit.

Why it matters: The lawsuit alleges that Falwell, whose family name has been associated with the Christian university since its founding, did not disclose scandalous and potentially damaging information to the university's board of trustees.

Context: Falwell resigned from the university in August 2020 amid allegations that he and his wife had a years-long intimate relationship with business partner Giancarlo Granda.

  • Falwell claimed he was extorted by Granda, his former pool attendant, over his wife's affair.

Prior to his resignation, Falwell had agreed to an indefinite leave of absence after posting a photo of himself on social media with unzipped pants holding what appeared to be an alcoholic beverage with one of his arms around a woman.

The big picture: Liberty's lawsuit against Falwell claims that the former president threatened the university's reputation by not divulging the relationship and extortion scheme to its board.

  • "Falwell Jr. chose personal protection,” the suit claims, according to the Times.
  • It also alleges that Falwell “improperly and errantly” told media outlets that the university owed him $10.5 million after his resignation and that his severance should have been $2.5 million.
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