Oral Roberts: Son did nothing wrong in ORU scandal

The Associated Press/February 15, 2009

Tulsa, Oklahoma - Oral Roberts says he doesn't think his son, who has been accused of misspending funds at the university the evangelist founded, did anything wrong.

In a visit to the Oral Roberts University campus on Saturday, the 91-year-old Roberts said he and Richard Roberts didn't discuss his son's decision to resign as the school's president in late 2007.

The younger Roberts, a televangelist, was accused along with his wife, Lindsay, of spending money on shopping sprees, home improvements and a stable of horses for their daughters at a time when ORU was badly in debt. Both have denied wrongdoing.

The school had been more than $17 million in debt until billionaire Oklahoma City businessman Mart Green's family donated a total of $80 million and pledged to restore the public's trust in the school. Green is now the chairman of the university's board of trustees.

Roberts called the creation of the university the crowning achievement of his life, and said he never thought the university would close despite its financial woes. He said that "if God hadn't sent the Green family, He would have sent somebody else."

Dr. Mark Rutland, a former president of Southeastern University in Florida, was named the new president of the Oklahoma school in January.

Rutland said the elder Roberts told him Saturday that "I want you to receive this university from me personally. I want you to consider yourself as succeeding me as the president."

Roberts declined to talk about his son's future.

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