Robertses face more lawsuits
BY APRIL MARCISZEWSKI World Staff Writer
Thursday, November 22, 2007
1/17/08 at 11:28 AM
For more: Read the latest ORU stories, view the lawsuit and other documents and watch slide shows and video.
A former ORU
accountant and two
students have filed suits.
A former Oral Roberts University
senior accountant filed a lawsuit
Wednesday claiming he was forced
to quit because he refused to stay silent about ORU and others allegedly
requiring him to falsely list assets as
Trent Huddleston's lawsuit claims
"he was directed, against his will
and over his objections," to defraud
the Internal Revenue Service, the
Oklahoma Tax Commission and the
public "in particular for the protection of . . . Richard and Lindsay Roberts . . ."
Richard Roberts is on a leave of
absence as ORU president while university regents and independent auditors investigate allegations made
in an earlier lawsuit by former professors John Swails, Tim Brooker,
and Paulita Brooker. That suit
claims the Roberts family misspent
ORU and Oral Roberts Ministries
money, among other allegations.
Lindsay Roberts is his wife. Both are
defendants in the earlier lawsuit.
They have denied wrongdoing, and
Richard Roberts has said that he
pays for his family's personal expenses.
Huddleston's suit was filed by attorneys Gary Richardson and Paul
Boudreaux. They also filed the earlier lawsuit, as well as two lawsuits
filed Wednesday from ORU students, one claiming his potential degree has been devalued and the other claiming the history department
has been decimated and he cannot
complete his history degree. All of
the suits were filed in Tulsa County
ORU Director of Public Relations
Jeremy Burton said the university
declined to comment on the student
cases and was reviewing Huddleston's allegations. Richard Roberts'
attorney did not return a call just before 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Huddleston and the
two students each are
suing ORU, the ministries, their governing
boards and Richard and
Lindsay Roberts. Huddleston is not giving interviews, Richardson
said. His lawsuit alleges
he was forced to quit
two weeks after the earlier lawsuit was filed,
the day a financial audit
was scheduled to happen.
alleges the Robertses
spent ORU and ministries money for personal
uses through this year,
including $122,886.24 to
remodel their home,
more than $40,000 for a
swimming pool, $4,780
for a pool table and
more money for a wet
Huddleston alleges in
his lawsuit that he "was
not allowed to question
the authenticity of the
expenditures or their legitimacy." He claims the
Robertses used donations, such as from a
church, in ways other
than donors intended,
such as for the Robertses' house.
Richard Roberts said
last week that an Oral
Roberts Ministries supporter made a donation
in 1986 to the ministries
to build the house his
family lives in. He pays
taxes and rent to the
ministries for living
there, he said.
The house has not
been remodeled multiple times, he said, but
has been repaired because of damage caused
by improper construction and black mold.
The university is responsible for repairs to
the house, he said.
Once, a wall in the
house was knocked out
to create a larger area
for entertaining large
Cornell Cross II, a
student studying government formerly under
the ex-professors who
filed the earlier lawsuit
against ORU, claims the
conduct of ORU, the
ministries, their boards
and the Robertses "devalued and ruined the
reputation of any college degree" he might
attain from ORU, his
lawsuit states. He alleges he would lose about
half of his credits if he
tried to transfer to another college, putting
him further in debt.
Cross also alleges the
tried to expel him.
Cross -- along with
the former professors
-- says ORU has canceled the government
program since those
professors are no longer
working there. Cross alleges ORU has been unable to replace the professors who had
doctoral degrees and
Cross said he wants
ORU "to survive and
continue," but he wants
Richard Roberts' immediate family, not including ORU founder Oral
Roberts, to be completely removed from the
university and its daily
Student David Brown
also filed a suit, alleging
he is unable to complete
his history degree with
a Middle East concentration because required classes now are
being taught by allegedly unqualified instructors. Brown's lawsuit
says he plans to transfer
to John Brown University, another private,
Christian school, in Arkansas.
April Marciszewski 581-8475