Liberty University Sues Former President Jerry Falwell Jr. for $10 Million, Citing Conspiracy, Breach of Contract

By Bob Smietana
Jerry Falwell Jr. (Photo Credit AP Photo: Evan Vucci, File)

Liberty University, one of the nation’s largest Christian universities, is suing former president Jerry Falwell Jr. for $10 million, citing a breach of contract and a conspiracy to mislead the university’s board. 

Falwell, son of Liberty Founder, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr., resigned as Liberty’s president in August 2020, after years of controversy due to his support of Donald Trump and allegations of misconduct. 

A complaint in the lawsuit, filed in a Lynchburg, Virginia circuit court, claims Falwell “fashioned a deceitful scheme to manipulate the Executive Committee of Liberty” while negotiating his last contract.

The complaint also states Falwell created the so-called “Granda plan” to conceal his family’s relationship with Giancarlo Granda, a young man the couple had met while vacationing in Florida. Granda has claimed to have had a long-term sexual relationship with Jerry Falwell Jr. and with his wife, Becki Falwell. The Falwells have denied that claim but have admitted that Becki had an affair with Granda. The couple also bought a Miami beach youth hostel in 2013, which Granda managed and also had a share.

The complaint claims Falwell devised a plan to cover up the relationship, fearing Granda would make it public, and that Granda asked Falwell for payoffs in order to keep racy photos of Becki Falwell out of the public eye.

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“Most damaging, Falwell Jr. knew that Granda would be able to provide details about the fact of the affair with Becki, its duration, Falwell Jr.’s role in abetting it, the attendant circumstances of the affair, and the specific activities in which Granda, Falwell Jr. and Becki engaged in during the affair.”

Rather than telling the board about Granda, Falwell hid it from Liberty’s board, according to the complaint. Falwell also became concerned his high profile support of Trump would backfire and might cost him his job.

Then in 2019, he negotiated a new employment agreement with the board, which included a raise and a more favorable severance if he were fired. The complaint claims Falwell continued to conceal his dealings with Granda while trying to create a “safety net” for himself. 

Falwell’s actions clashed with the school’s moral code, known as the “Liberty Way” — which requires faculty and administration to agree to a statement of faith and to adhere to “Biblical standards of morality,” including strict rules limiting sex to within a heterosexual marriage. 

The school’s president was expected to be “a standout spiritual leader for the college,” according to the complaint.

The suit seeks $10 million in damages and a return of any Liberty property still in Falwell Jr.’s possession. 

Falwell Jr. did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Bob SmietanaBob Smietana is a national reporter for Religion News Service.



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37 thoughts on “Liberty University Sues Former President Jerry Falwell Jr. for $10 Million, Citing Conspiracy, Breach of Contract”

  1. The purge of Junior and his spawn is beginning.

    Jerry Jr. will be the Stalin figure in the hagiography of Liberty University.

    Jerry Sr., of course, is the Lenin figure which is why like Lenin, he is still on display (rhetorically) long after he is dead.

  2. Yup just more of those good ole boys yelling jesusssss isssss lorddddd while fleecing the flock. I love watching and reading this stuff. All the evangelical industrial complex places make more excuses for the sexual and financial grifting than the catholic pedophile palaces could ever do. At least the pedo priests never yelled. God forgives me so you can’t hurt me or be mean to me. And spare any scripture you will throw at me. Because if I’ve anything Christians are great at using scripture as a WMD vs for actually holding the EIC feet to the fire. These things mock god with every breath they take. No shame only hubris like there actual god which is trump. YES folks these are the things that pumped up trump as king Cyrus. Are you kidding me!!!! Where were all you evangelicals when president carter was around??? At least he is an actual Christian. You EIC know who you are and so does God. Remember this line. I NEVER KNEW YOU.

  3. As necessary as these news reports are, it saddens me so to see them day after day about one church or the other, one pastor or another.

    If I’m asked about my faith I no longer say I’m an Evangelical or “I’m born again”.
    I simply state that I’m a Christian. And if they’ll listen I’ll share my testimony and pray that God will use it for His glory.

    1. Russ. I’m down to: I’m a believer and definitely back you all the way. I’ve watched these profit centers explode since the eightys. The more you hoot and holler and say it’s the Holy Spirit I say no it’s called impulse control issues and pure entertainment. I and all of gods children need teachers not preachers. For me church is actually every Wednesday when a small group of us meet on zoom. We can talk and learn and ask questions and challenge each other in TEACHING each other. For me going back to a church and parking then saying hi then a few songs then a sermon then go home. It’s lost it’s appeal. Remember Jesus said where two or more are gathered NOT where two or more in the thousands are gathered I’m there.

  4. Ruth ~ Libertymom x2

    We filed a suit against Liberty with the Federal Department of Education under Jr.’s leadership in 2018-2019… i wonder if they win, will the students who paid tens of thousands of dollars every semester see any of that money… our students definitely did NOT get the Christian education that we paid for .


      Got threatened if he returned and school did nothing!
      Investigators Involved: VP Greg Dowell, VP Laura Wallace
      Offending Employees: VP Kirk Handy, Jeff Boettger, Dan Berthiume, Marc Bourdon, Jonathan Chung

      We have a recording that proves they lied to LU investigators and the Dept of Education.
      Liberty was given a copy and they’ve done nothing!

      Oh the hypocrisy!!

  5. Oh the hypocrisy of Liberty University to sue Falwell when VP Greg Dowell, VP Laura Wallace have a recording that we sent them proving VP Kirk Handy lied to the Dept of Education and Liberty University investigative team about kicking my son out of the hockey program and defamed his character by lying and saying he quit! Guess it’s time to release the recording to the public!

    1. Controversy because of his support for Trump? Allegations of misconduct, yes. Major case to be made there. But to bring Trump into it? You’re just disingenuous. This story has (should have) nothing to do with Trump!! But……

      EVERYTHING is about Trump. The guy’s wife has an affair? Trump. Misappropriation of funds? Trump. You’re losing your credibility! You’re embarrassing yourself. Can you possibly keep Trump out of the discussion unless it actually has something to do with him? BTW, not a fan of Trump OR Falwell.

      1. The evangelical industrial complex for the past four years have done nothing to bridle trumps evil and disgusting godless ways and leading the pack was the Falwells. And the prophets err profits still claim trump is president. You want to really see the evangelical Christians at there best? Go to right wing watch. The disgusting godless alleged prophets will make you sick.And what do you know. They have the same family values as trump. You were played evangelicals by the master manipulator. Donald trump. And you are all still too naive to admit it. Oh BTW I hear another family values guy by the name of Matt is looking to share his photos with the fellow gop family values Christians. I believe in god and Jesus is my savior and outside of a small group I zoom with I don’t want or need any evangelicals or church telling me about god.

          1. Matt Gaetz another spoiled brat who never sweated a paycheck protected by mommy and daddy. Kinda like Falwell and trump

          1. It was Falwell who talked about Trump ad nauseam, MG, therefore making it a significant part of the Falwell story however uncomfortable that makes you feel.

          2. MG, you’re right of course. If Falwell had just supported Trump, he’d still be President of Liberty. If he had just had the other scandal, and no Trump support, he’d still have been fired. Trumpism has nothing to do with it.

        1. That Falwell’s support for Trump–including the expenditure of Liberty University funds for pro-Trump causes–was controversial is simply a matter of historical fact, well documented by student and faculty protests as well as board resignations due to Falwell’s behavior.

          Your offense at the mere mention of this fact says a great deal about your biases, not about those of the reporter.

      2. Totally agree. You keep correlating support for Trump with being a disingenuous christian. It’s not necessarily so…but you continue.

      3. Trumps former lawyer claimed he helped “fix” some of the evidence of the affairs for the Falwells, prior to Falwell endorsing Trump.

    2. Yes it is time! Thank you for stating the truth. I believe there are tons of stories that are more than just to do with the former president and his family that need to be told.

  6. John I also have a recording. We did sue. We will see what happens. I’m wondering how many recordings are available. In this case Liberty did the recording and sent me a copy

  7. Falwell is the classic case of power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Too many ministries are controlled by a powerful personality who have a rubber stamp board that in theory they answer to. These board members need to not only resign if they face out of control leaders but to blow the whistle on them so that the truth comes out. For those who wish to tarnish Trump for his association with Falwell lets talk about Democrat supporters such as Harvey Weinstein and Ed Buck.

    1. Ahh bill. Nice try. Here’s a cookie. They were not confessing to be a Christian and claiming family values and weren’t the president of the USA USA USA. Oh sorry the inner gop capital storming all American came out of me.

    2. “tarnish Trump for his association with Falwell”

      Lol. Trump is so sooty that Falwell sought to shine him up for the evangelical crowds. When Falwell endorsed him, it was standing in front of Trump’s Playboy cover.

      It’s the other way around…those who pal around with Trump end up tarnished by their association with such an immoral man, and that includes many who call themselves evangelical Christians.

      “Be not deceived..bad company corrupts good morals.”

      1. Thank you Lea for your support. And MG go to right wing watch and read some of the stories. Read what the evangelicals are saying. My favorite evangelical and follower of our saviors beatitudes says we should execute all Democrats and journalists by firing squad. Yeah that sounds like our savior Huh!! These are those prophets we kept hearing of for four years. It’s frustrating when Christians can’t see how trump played the evangelicals and the evangelicals played the flock.

  8. All this proves that what Jesus said so very long ago is still true no matter how hard we try and ignore it and we embrace the pop Poet-Modern philosophy of “everyone has their own truth.” “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Wherever there is big money mixed with what claims to be Christianity you will find those who despise the truth and the real Jesus for their true first love: the God of Mammon. The verse prior to this one states: “But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” We are ignoring a crystal clear teaching of our Lord and Master. This just shows how utterly spiritually blind we are that we would send our children looking for “a Christian education” to a place run like this. Many, I do not doubt, do this because it is big and popular. And yet this has always been the line of reasoning that has led many a lemming off of a cliff: “everyone else is doing it so it must be good!” Yet the scriptures clearly state the exact opposite, but who needs them when you have a big crowd to follow on the low path that leads to destruction?

  9. I suspect Falwell scored an own goal somewhere along the line after his resignation was agreed to. He could have walked away with millions and the LU would have happily put the whole sordid affair behind them, but no, he couldn’t help himself, and sued the university for damages when all the damage caused was by his own hand.

    1. Narcissists can’t help but over reach since they truly believe themselves to be better and smarter than others.

  10. I personally believe Mr. Trump is responsible for global warming and now leads the Evangelical Industrial Complex. He is going to run for President again and Mr. Falwell will be his Attorney General. Just sayin..

  11. A link to the legal complaint would have been a good touch for the story. The lawsuit is interesting legally. It isn’t for breach of contract for having a sleazy connection with Granda, it seems like; it’s for taking action to conceal the sleaze while negotiating a contract with high severance pay. That is, it’s more like fraud— possibly a crime, actually, though this is just a civil suit to get the money back that he earned because of the fraud.

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