For many observers, the resignation of Oral Roberts University’s embattled president, Richard Roberts, seemed to be a question of when, not if, amidst the financial scandals that hit the school nearly two months ago. Roberts, facing accusations in the lawsuit that he misspent school funds to support a lavish lifestyle, finally resigned on Friday. “Those who have seen what we have seen won’t have any surprise about the fact that Richard has stepped down,” said attorney Gary Richardson, who brought a wrongful termination lawsuit against Roberts last month on behalf of three of the university’s professors. “There was no option, period.”
His resignation is effective immediately, according to a statement e-mailed from George Pearsons, chairman of the school’s Board of Regents. Roberts said in a statement that he loved the university. “I love the students, faculty, staff and administration and I want to see God’s best for all of them.”
The school’s regents planned to meet Monday and Tuesday to determine action in the search process for a new president, Pearsons said in the statement. Executive Regent Billy Joe Daugherty will assume the president’s administrative responsibilities, working with Oral Robertsuntil the regents’ meeting, the statement said.
“This was an inevitable step that had to happen because of their arrogance,” said former regent Harry McNevin, who quit the board in 1987 because of misspending he said he witnessed. “It’s been 20 years that they’ve been doing the same things that I became aware of.” The recent lawsuit, filed Oct. 2, included 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.
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