Liberty University sues Falwell for $10M, in sharp break with former president

Scott Lamb, a spokesman for Liberty University, said “the only word the university has to say on the matter is the lawsuit itself”.

Falwell resigned last year on charges of a former Miami hotel pool attendant, Giancarlo Granda, who claimed he had a long affair with Falwell’s wife, Becki, while Jerry sometimes watched. The couple have acknowledged Becki’s affair with Granda but denied that Jerry ever participated.

Falwell has alleged Granda tried to blackmail him over the situation, but Liberty’s lawsuit states that he never reported the blackmail to the university. The lawsuit accuses Falwell of conspiring to keep Granda’s alleged threats away from the university so that he could get a cheaper contract. If the university had known the “full details of Granda’s extortion from Falwell,” the lawsuit said, it would not have agreed to renew Falwell’s contract in 2019.

Granda has denied Falwell’s blackmail claim.

The new lawsuit is the latest chapter in a brewing battle between Falwell and the university founded by his father, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. Falwell Jr. has filed a defamation lawsuit against Liberty, and the university has taken steps to sever ties with his family members. Earlier this week, the university confirmed that Falwell’s son Trey was no longer a senior official at the school.

The 38-page complaint describes the various scandals that have gripped Liberty and Falwell over the past few years that led to his ouster from university last summer.

It contains various photos of Falwell that run counter to the university’s Christian ethos, such as images of him partying in a Miami area nightclub, exercising with two young women, and having his pants open and arm with him at a costume party on a yacht about a woman.

The lawsuit alleges that Falwell has failed to disclose to the university “his personal impairment from alcohol that led Falwell Jr. to acts and behaviors that adversely affect the spiritual mission of freedom.”

The university is seeking more than $ 10 million in damages as part of the lawsuit. Falwell’s behavior has “violated Liberty’s enrollment, compromised the donor base, disrupted faculty” and “damaged Liberty’s reputation,” the university alleged in the lawsuit.

Falwell told POLITICO in an interview published earlier this month that the Liberty community is still hugging him.

“The staff and the board of directors only supported us 100 percent,” said Falwell. “The students all want to take their picture with me. You thank me. “

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