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Liberty University could owe Jerry Falwell Jr. a $10.5M payoff

Embattled evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr may be owed $10.5million by Liberty University following his resignation in the wake of a sex scandal involving his wife and a Miami pool boy.

The 58-year-old president and chancellor of the Christian school announced Monday he resigned from his post and the Board of Trustees accepted his resignation on Tuesday, effective immediately.

His swift departure comes after his family was embroiled in a series of scandals including a six-year affair between his wife Becki and Miami pool boy Giancarlo Granda, who claimed Falwell would watch them have sex. 

Liberty University now owes Falwell a total of about $10.5million over the next two years following his resignation from the nation’s largest evangelical college, a source with knowledge of his employment contract said to the Wall Street Journal.

He’s due his $1.25million salary for two years followed by a lump-sum payment of about $8million because a clause in his contract allowed him to resign with full pay if his responsibility were curtailed. 

His responsibilities were put on hold when he was placed on an indefinite leave of absence two weeks ago, the source said.

On Monday evening Falwell said he wouldn’t have to sue to get paid.

‘I didn’t break any rules – I get my compensation,’ he said. 

On Monday Liberty University said Falwell agreed to resign as president but withdrew his resignation later that day. 

On Tuesday school officials said the board of trustees met via conference call on Tuesday and unanimously accepted Falwell’s resignation.

The Board released a statement saying it ‘used most of its meeting to focus forward on the university’s future and steps that could be taken to ensure it remained true to its mission.’ 

‘The university’s heartfelt prayers are with him and his family as he steps away from his life’s work,’ the university said Tuesday. 

Falwell agreed to consult for the school in its transition to a new administration.  

Falwell became head of the university in 2008. Back then he earned $271,000 in pay and benefits, according to tax filings.  

Over the past few years Falwell emerged as one of the country’s most prominent evangelicals and was an early supporter for President Trump.

He is the son of the Rev. Jerry Falwell who passed away in 2007.  

However, Falwell came under scrutiny this summer for his personal behavior. 

In June he apologized after deleting a tweet that showed a person in black face and another in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe. 

On August 7 he was ordered to take an ‘indefinite leave of absence’ after posting a photo on Instagram that showed him with his pants unzipped and his midsection visible, with his arm around a woman, who he claimed was his wife’s assistant, whose shorts were also unzipped.  

The sex scandal erupted after Giancarlo Granda, 29, went public on Monday with bombshell allegations that he was involved in a sexual affair with the Falwells from 2012 through 2019. 

He said he was 20 when he met the pair in Miami and that starting in March 2012, he had sex with Falwell’s wife Becki several times a year in hotel rooms, sometimes while Falwell Jr. watched, until 2018.

‘Becki and I developed an intimate relationship and Jerry enjoyed watching from the corner of the room,’ Granda said.  

In a statement Falwell Jr. acknowledged the affair but said that he was ‘not involved.’

In his statement on Sunday night, Falwell Jr. said, in part: ‘Becki had an inappropriate personal relationship with this person, something in which I was not involved…it was nonetheless very upsetting to learn about.’ 

‘I am now dealing with things in a way that I should have done before – including seeking to address the emotional toll this has taken,’ he added. 

For some students, alumni and staffers, Falwell’s exit is a sigh of relief. Falwell is the son of the school’s founder and several other Falwell family members are involved or employed at the school. 

‘I’m hoping they’ll focus more on the Christian aspect of Liberty and not the political aspect,’ Brooke Smoke, a senior at the Lynchburg, Virginia, campus that resumed in person classes this week, said to the Journal.

The school earns about $1.2billion in revenue annually, about 84 percent of which comes from tuition and fees, the tax filing covering fiscal 2018 shows. Its assets total more than $2.8billion. 

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