Friday, November 23, 2007

Embattled Oral Roberts President Resigns

TULSA, Okla. - The president of Oral Roberts University, facing accusations he misspent school funds to support a lavish lifestyle, resigned on Friday, officials said.

Richard Roberts' resignation is effective immediately, according to a statement e-mailed from George Pearsons, chairman of the school's Board of Regents.

Roberts and the evangelical university have come under fire since three former professors sued last month, alleging wrongful termination.

The lawsuit includes allegations of a $39,000 shopping tab at one store for Richard Roberts' wife, Lindsay, a $29,411 Bahamas senior trip on the university jet for one of Roberts' daughters, and a stable of horses for the Roberts children.

Roberts, son of school founder and televangelist Oral Roberts, had been on temporary leave from the university, fighting the accusations against him. The Board of Regents had ordered an outside probe of the school's finances.

In a recent interview, Roberts and his wife denied wrongdoing. He has said the lawsuit amounted to "intimidation, blackmail and extortion."

On Friday, he said in the statement that he loved the university, of which he became president in 1993.

"I love ORU with all my heart," he said. "I love the students, faculty, staff and administration and I want to see God's best for all of them."

The school will not provide additional comment until next week, spokesman Jeremy Burton said. A message left for Roberts' personal attorney wasn't immediately returned.......

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