Politico has a very big, very in-depth report on “evangelical” leader Jerry Falwell Jr.’s sculpting of Liberty University into what appears to be mostly a quite secular self-enrichment device. It’s worth reading in full.
The short version: “More than two dozen” Liberty University officials, former officials, and Falwell associates were willing to come forward to describe a culture at Liberty in which Falwell regularly directs university loans, contracts, and real estate deals toward his immediate family and his allies. Among the blistering (though anonymous) quotes from Falwell’s fed-up underlings:
“We’re not a school, we’re a real estate hedge fund.”
“We’re talking about the difference between right and wrong. Not even ‘being a good Christian,’ but being a good person, versus people who manipulate the system.”
“If something doesn’t make sense and Jerry really wants it to happen, he in some form or fashion has a personal interest.”
But it’s the specifics that are going to be hard for Falwell to rebut. Politico’s Liberty University sources were apparently eager to back up their claims of self-dealing by Falwell with numerous specific events, from son Trey’s personal involvement in the weird $50,000 scheme to rig two online polls to boost Trump to a new company formed by Trey to “manage” university-owned properties to numerous stories of Falwell friends getting favorable real estate and business deals. Ostensibly, the school is an apolitical, Christian-minded 501(c)(3) organization. In reality, Falwell seems almost exclusively focused on political boosterism and using the school as personal slush fund.