Former Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. is suing the school for more than $8 million, alleging he is owed retirement funds that were never paid.
The federal lawsuit was filed last week. Falwell is asking for $8.5 million.
“Liberty wrongfully has denied and withheld the benefits to which Mr. Falwell is entitled, despite Mr. Falwell meeting every requirement set forth in the [Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan] for payment of the benefits due on September 1, 2022,” the lawsuit says, according to Fox News.
Under the Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan (SERP), Falwell “forfeits the account only in the event that his employment is terminated for cause” or if he engages “in any competitive activity,” according to the lawsuit. The News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg also reported on the suit.
The university has repeatedly denied Falwell’s request for the money, the suit says.
Liberty released a statement saying it is confident the school does not owe Falwell the money.
“This claim is part of a larger dispute currently pending in state court,” the statement said. “The University will defend the new action on the same grounds it has already pled on the record in the state case. Liberty is confident it is not legally required to pay these funds and will file the appropriate responses with the federal court.”
The suit says Falwell helped build the school and is owed the retirement funds. It asks for an evidentiary hearing.
He resigned as president of Liberty University in August 2020 following a string of scandals that captured national headlines. When he resigned, the school was experiencing record enrollment with an endowment of $1.6 billion.
He had been serving a leave of absence. Upon his resignation, the university released a statement saying the scandals “made it clear that it would not be in the best interest of the University for him to return from leave and serve as President.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.