Evangelical leader and Trump-devotee Jerry Falwell, Jr. personally approved the $1.2 million no money down sale of a Liberty University owned fitness center to a personal trainer he and his wife use. The terms of the sale include a guaranteed $650,000 “lease-back” in which Liberty University committed to pay for nine-years of use of the facility’s tennis courts. It also included a very low 3% interest rate, financed by Liberty University.
“Around 2011, Falwell, president of Liberty University in Virginia, and his wife, Rebecca, began personal fitness training sessions with Benjamin Crosswhite, then a 23-year-old recent Liberty graduate,” Reuters reports. “Now, after a series of university real estate transactions signed by Falwell, Crosswhite owns a sprawling 18-acre racquet sports and fitness facility on former Liberty property. Last year, a local bank approved a line of credit allowing Crosswhite’s business to borrow as much as $2 million against the property.”
This is not the first time Falwell has extended tremendous financial support to a young man he and his wife support.
“A Florida lawsuit brought public scrutiny to a relationship between the Falwells and Giancarlo Granda, a young man they befriended while he was working as a pool attendant at a luxury Miami Beach hotel and later backed in a business venture involving a youth hostel,” Reuters adds. “Falwell filed an affidavit in 2018 saying he used his own wealth to lend $1.8 million to the $4.65 million project with Granda.”
And U.S. President Trump’s now-jailed fixer, Michael Cohen, has said he helped the Falwells suppress racy personal photos, as Reuters reported this May, in the months before Cohen persuaded Falwell to endorse Trump’s 2016 White House bid. There is no evidence that Cohen’s efforts to suppress the photos were a quid pro quo for Falwell’s vital political backing.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes notes: “Aside from, um, the eyebrow raising aspects between the lines, this is just a SHOCKINGLY corrupt use of university funds.”
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