Liberty University Sues Jerry Falwell Jr. for $10 Million
Things just got super messy and potentially very expensive for former Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. The Christian university founded by his father on Friday sued Falwell Jr. for $10 million, alleging breach of contract and fiduciary duty and claiming that he withheld scandalous and potentially damaging information from the school’s board of trustees in 2019 while negotiating a generous new contract for himself. The suit alleges that Falwell also failed to disclose and address “his personal impairment by alcohol.”
Things started to go south for Falwell in August of 2020 when he was suspended with pay after posting — and then deleting — a controversial photo on social media. It showed the married Falwell with his pants unzipped, belly showing, part of his beard painted and his arm around a young woman.
wut is happening pic.twitter.com/8iEOr9EeRQ
— Robert Downen (@RobDownenChron) August 3, 2020
Then, later in August, news reports surfaced alleging that he and his wife, Becki, had engaged in an extramarital affair with a former business partner and family friend. Giancarlo Granda said he had a years-long sexual relationship with the couple that involved him having sex with Becki Falwell while Jerry Falwell looked on.
The suit alleges that Falwell deceived the board’s executive committee into redesigning his contract to include a higher severance payout if he resigned for “good reason” or if Liberty terminated his contract without cause. Falwell claimed to the committee that this would serve as a “safety valve” for both him and the university if his full-throated support of former President Donald Trump proved damaging to the school’s reputation.
The real reason for negotiating the deal, the suit claims, was to protect against the possibility that Granda would publicly reveal his relationship with the family.