Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Chairman Says ORU Over $50M in Debt

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Oral Roberts University, which is fighting accusations that its president misspent school funds, faces a crippling debt load, the chairman of the school's board of regents said Wednesday.

Chairman George Pearsons told The Associated Press that maintenance costs and low financial support from donors have put the evangelical university $55 million in debt. University spokesman Jeremy Burton later said the debt is actually $52.5 million.

``Honestly, we've been struggling financially,'' Pearsons said. ``Really my goal - and it's a big one - my goal is to obliterate the debt.''

The announcement comes a week after the school's president, Richard Roberts, took a leave of absence to fight a lawsuit brought by three former professors who claim they were wrongfully dismissed.

Among the accusations the lawsuit makes against Richard Roberts and his wife, Lindsay, are that they used school funds to remodel their home 11 times in 14 years, sent their daughter and several of her friends on a $29,411 senior trip to the Bahamas on a university-owned jet, and that they spent school money to provide their daughters with a stable of horses........

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