The president of Oral Roberts University, Richard Roberts, has taken a leave of absence in the wake of allegations that he and his family mishandled university finances. His wife, Lindsay Roberts, has also been accused of spending the night with an underage man. Tenured faculty of Oral Roberts University voted "no confidence" in Richard Roberts on November 12.
The allegations were made public in a lawsuit filed by three former professors. The professors say they were wrongly forced out of Oral Roberts University (ORU) after forwarding the charges to the attention of university leaders. They had discovered the charges when they came across an internal report prepared by ministry employee and Roberts family relative Stephanie Cantees.
The professors are suing Roberts, the university, three ORU administrators, and the university's regents.
According to the lawsuit, an ORU student uncovered the report on a university computer he was asked to repair. He took the report to the three professors, who then took it to ORU's board. Among other things, the report alleges that Roberts
- used the university jet to take one of his daughters and several of her friends on a senior trip to Florida and the Bahamas, costing the university $29,411;
- remodeled his 2,000-square-foot home office into a walk-in closet for his wife using university funds;
- looked the other way while his wife routinely charged thousands of dollars in clothing expenditures to the university or its television ministry;
- and ordered staffers to modify records so that personal purchases would appear to be business related.
Roberts has denied the allegations. "At first we felt blindsided," he told Christianity Today. "These allegations were so out of the blue, we never saw them coming. The allegations in this lawsuit are among the most outrageous I have ever witnessed."
In a statement released on October 17, Roberts said he asked the regents to grant him a temporary leave of absence "until these matters can be resolved."
The faculty ...