Richard Roberts takes leave of absence from Oral Roberts University

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Under fire for illegal political and financial wrongdoing, Oral Roberts University president Richard Roberts stepped down from his position and Billy Joe Daugherty was named acting-president. Richard and his wife, Lindsay Roberts, are also members of the ORU Board of Regents, and it is not mentioned if Richard and/or Lindsay stepped down from the board.

On October 12 the plaintiffs of the original lawsuit amended it adding the university's Board of Regents, which includes George Pearsons, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Michael A. Hammer, John Hagee, Marilyn Hickey, Oral Roberts, Lindsay Roberts, Richard Roberts, Jerry Savelle and Charles Watson to the suit. ORU Board member Kenneth Copeland was Oral Roberts airplane pilot in the 1960s, and current Board chairman, George Pearsons, is married to Copeland's oldest daughter.

The plaintiffs cited that three days after the original lawsuit was filed, Roberts fired the university's financial comptroller (who had been employed by ORU for 26 years) and "witnesses have reported voluminous materials and documents were shredded and destroyed, constituting spoilation of evidence." The lawsuit argued that the Regents were a party to the suit due to negligence in failing to handle the issue as well as allowed a convicted child molester "mentor" students.

Also ORU recently admitted to the press that the IRS had warned ORU against the illegal nature of ORU's political activity. That political campaign is what the plaintiffs alleged caused the wrongful dismissal of Tim Brooker. While the university declined to offer the IRS' letters, a spokes-person confirmed the IRS sent two letters in 2006 about the political involvement.