Oral Roberts president under review for ethics
October 9, 2007
__University president suspected of laundering millions for own use__
Richard Roberts, the president of Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma, was recently sued for supporting local politician Randi Miller with university funds and also for using university money to finance his family’s opulent lifestyle.
p. The three professors suing Roberts claim that Roberts breached his contract. The suit asks for damages in excess of $10,000.
Roberts has allegedly cost the University over $29,000, using the university jet to fly his daughter and her friends to Florida and the Bahamas. He is also suspected of bringing university faculty to his house to do his daughters’ homework, buying a red Mercedes convertible and a Lexus sport utility vehicle for his wife and funding the construction of a horse stable for his family’s use.
p. According to The Associated Press, Mrs. Roberts alledgedly used over $800 worth of university funds to repeatedly text message between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. to underage males who had been provided cell phones at the university’s expense. The university’s budget was also stretched to cover Mrs. Roberts’ shopping sprees at Chico’s, the lawsuit claims.
p. Other allegations currently under investigation include awarding non-academic scholarships to friends of the Roberts’ children, firing a university employee so that Mrs. Roberts’ friend could fill the fired man’s job and using university funds to remodel the Roberts’ house. The Roberts’ house has been remodeled 11 times in the past 14 years, according to the AP.
p. “We have asked and asked to see the finances of our school and what they’re doing with our money, and we’ve been told no,” said Cornell Cross II, a senior at Oral Roberts. “As a student, I’m not going to stand for it any longer.”
p. Oral Roberts University, an evangelical college, was founded by Richard Roberts’ father, who claimed that he was reading a spy novel when God appeared to him and told him to raise $8 million for a university. As a nonprofit organization, the university is not legally allowed to endorse political candidates nor use funds for private purposes.
p. Roberts denies the charges, claiming that they are based entirely on rumor and speculation and also claims that God has told him that the allegations are false.
p. “We live in a litigious society. Anyone can get mad and file a lawsuit against another person, whether they have a legitimate case or not,” Roberts said to the AP. “This lawsuit is about intimidation, blackmail and extortion.”