Jerry Falwell Jr. is being sued for $40 million by the school his father founded in 1971, alleging that he breached his contract and fiduciary duty as president of the university.
According to the New York Times, the allegations spelled out in the lawsuit are damaging for both Falwell and Liberty:
“The suit, which was filed on Thursday and asks for more than $40 million in damages, alleges breach of contract and fiduciary duty. It claims that Mr. Falwell withheld scandalous and potentially damaging information from Liberty’s board of trustees, while negotiating a generous new contract for himself in 2019 under false pretenses. Mr. Falwell also failed to disclose and address ‘his personal impairment by alcohol,’ the suit alleges.
In August, Mr. Falwell claimed that he was being threatened with extortion by a man who had a yearslong sexual relationship with Mr. Falwell’s wife, Becki. The suit claims that by keeping the sexual entanglement and resulting ‘extortion’ a secret, Mr. Falwell endangered and later damaged Liberty’s reputation. Instead of divulging the active threat to Liberty’s board, ‘Falwell Jr. chose personal protection,’ the suit claims.”
Responding to the lawsuit, Falwell claimed that he had always followed the requirements for staff at the school and that the lawsuit is “full of lies and half truths” and “yet another attempt to defame me and discredit my record, following a series of harsh and unnecessary actions.”
The suit also alleges that Falwell “improperly and errantly” told reporters that he was owed $10.5 million when he resigned from Liberty in August of last year:
“Liberty was unsure if Falwell Jr.’s representation to the media was just puffery and bragging or some attempt to set up a claim for additional compensation.”
As the scandal unfolded in 2020, Falwell allegedly began drinking heavily, including being intoxicated while at work, according to the allegations in the Liberty suit:
“Mr. Falwell had begun ‘drinking significantly’ to manage his stress. ‘There were concerns that he smelled of alcohol during work interactions.”
Falwell filed his own lawsuit against Liberty, claiming that the school damaged his reputation with statements they made after he resigned. He later withdrew the suit.
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