Jerry Falwell Jr's family allegedly made millions by mixing personal and Liberty’s finances, real estate deals
Former president of the Liberty University, Jerry Falwell Jr. along with the rest of his family, is once again making headlines for allegedly earning a lot of money by involving their personal family businesses with that of the University's which was founded by his father Jerry Falwell Sr. According to the latest reports by Reuters, the university has called for a forensic investigation in order to have a look into “all faces” of his tenure including the “school’s financial and real estate operations”. This move came in the wake of the scandal involving Falwell Jr’s wife’s alleged affair with the pool boy.
The reports state that he was involved in a lot of financial transactions that took place after he took over the position as the university’s president and from when he was still a lawyer handling the institutions’ real estate deals. After becoming the president of the evangelical Christian university, Falwell Jr. reportedly involved his personal finances with the institution’s transactions.
Is it said that he put his entire family, including his sons and their two wives on the payroll during his time at the Liberty University. The reports further state that he had hired a “friend’s construction” company to manage the university expansion project which cost hundreds of millions according to Reuters. Falwell reportedly even transferred a large Liberty facility to his “personal trainer”.
Adding to the previous speculations, reports have suggested that Falwell established a couple of companies that allowed him to strike deals with nonprofit organizations affiliated with the university. He played multiple roles with each dealings, including that of the officer of the university, a board member for the nonprofit involved with the selling of its land, and a private developer.
Michael Bastedo of the University of Michigan School of Education issued a statement saying, “It’s very worrisome to have these sorts of financial arrangements going on and they deserve intense scrutiny.”
One of his dodgy deals as per Reuters reports includes a private company set up by Falwell while he was still serving as the lawyer for Liberty. He reportedly used it to buy undeveloped land for the school but ended up building a mall in its place. His company is said to have sold the property for an impressive sum five years later.
The property records from 2005 show him to have acted as a private businessman when the university’s nonprofit affiliate and one of his companies came together to sell land to a third company, which was reportedly controlled by Falwell’s real estate partner.
In 2012, Falwell launched a project while serving as the president of the university, which had over $2 million spent on it to build a tunnel that could link the campus to a shopping plaza near the campus that’s partially owned by Falwell, say reports.
However, he has denied any sort of allegations made against him with regard to the real estate dealings of Liberty and reportedly claimed that he is getting $10.5 million worth of a retirement package from the university. When Reuters tried contacting Falwell for a comment, he reportedly told the outlet, “I welcome it because it will prove that all you guys (media) are liars. … You got nothing,” before warning the service against contacting his sons who are still employed at Liberty. "Trust me, you do not want to mess with me, OK?”
The reports further establish that Liberty employed a private firm called JF management to manage the university properties, which was formed by Jerry “Trey” Falwell III, Falwell’s eldest son. The company allegedly received more than $58,000 in compensation in 2017, reveal the school’s recent public filing of tax form 990 with the US Internal Revenue Service. Trey Falwell, who is also Liberty Vice President, receives compensation of $189,000 a year. While Falwell’s other son Wesley earned $54,744 from Liberty, his wife Sarah Falwell draw a compensation of $63,315.