ORU Settles Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

Late Wednesday evening, Oral Roberts University (ORU) announced that it had settled a wrongful termination lawsuit filled a year ago by three former professors.

“This matter is now resolved and we are pleased to have it behind us,” said ORU interim president Ralph Fagin in a statement.

The professors—Tim Brooker and his wife, Paulita, along with John W. Swails, who settled in January and has now been reinstated—filed the lawsuit against former ORU President Richard L. Roberts, his wife, Lindsay, and some of the school’s administrators in October 2007.

Roberts was accused of mismanaging the school’s finances and using some of the money to fund his family’s lavish lifestyle. He resigned from his post in November 2007 though he denied the charges in the lawsuit.

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The Tulsa World reported that the Brookers originally requested a $2.5 million settlement, which ORU initially rejected. The terms of the settlement accepted Wednesday in the court ordered mediation were not disclosed.

Richard Roberts said he supported the university’s decision, according to the newspaper. “The university decided to settle the lawsuit with the Brookers, and I support the university. I cannot comment any further at this time," Roberts said.

Despite the controversy that has surrounded ORU for the last year, school officials say the school has turned a new page with the start of the new school year.

“ORU is moving forward into a new era of fiscally focused, mission-minded, whole-person education,” said Mart Green, founder of the Christian supply-store chain Mardel, who pledged $70 million to help the debt-ridden school “restore its broken trust.”

A fundraising campaign raised $5.8 million from more than 6,000 donors. Numerous buildings have gotten new carpeting, wiring, paint and furniture in the last year.

The Prayer Tower, ORU’s landmark building, was to have undergone significant repairs before opening during the fall semester with a new Student Prayer Initiative. Funds will also be used to upgrade academic programs.

“Our best asset is our students,” Green said.

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