N.Y. Shuts Down Operations of Beleaguered Bible College With Ties to ‘Newsweek’

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New York’s deputy commissioner for greater education dealt a brand new blow to Olivet College late final month by forcing it to cease tutorial operations within the state, citing the faculty’s “sample of mismanagement of the establishment’s funds” and “a well-established sample of noncompliance with legal guidelines, guidelines, and rules,” in line with a letter to the faculty from the state’s Schooling Division.

Olivet is a small bible school based mostly in California that was based by a pastor, David Jang, in 2000. Two years in the past, the faculty pleaded responsible to falsifying records and participating in a conspiracy as part of an alleged multimillion-dollar fraud and money-laundering scheme, and was sentenced to pay a $1.25-million fine. Newsweek not too long ago reported that Olivet was the topic of a brand new federal investigation, an accusation the faculty disputes. As if the saga couldn’t get any stranger, Newsweek, which has coated the faculty’s trials, was as soon as owned by an organization that was named alongside Olivet in the 2018 indictment.

New York’s decision came on May 17, and Olivet appealed. In a letter to Olivet dated June 30 in response to the appeal, William Murphy, New York’s deputy commissioner for higher education, upheld the decision.

“The evidence (including tax liens, civil lawsuits for defaulting on contracted payment terms, failure to pay workers compensation insurance, and the criminal case in which Olivet pled guilty to falsification of business records and conspiracy) shows a pattern of mismanagement of the institution’s finances, indicating a lack of capacity or lack of commitment on the part of Olivet to manage its finances in a manner conducive to operating a degree-granting institution in this state,” Murphy writes in the letter.

The state gave three reasons: Olivet did not have the resources it needed to carry out its academic mission; it “has failed to responsibly administer institutional policies and programs”; and it “has failed to establish, publish, and enforce explicit policies with respect to working conditions,” according to Murphy’s response to Olivet’s appeal.

A spokesman for the New York State Education Department declined to comment further. Olivet did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

However, the college did offer a statement on-line the identical day it acquired the response to its enchantment from the state, saying it “ended a great, 10-year run within the state of New York with the conclusion of our short-term permission to function by the New York Board of Regents.”

The assertion made no point out of the company’s denying Olivet’s request to proceed its tutorial operations within the state. As a substitute, it thanked God for its college students and “everybody who has made offering education in New York potential and optimistic for Olivet College till now, particularly on the New York State Schooling Division.” It additionally laid out plans for utilizing the land it owns in Dover, N.Y., for persevering with its Evangelical Heart based mostly on the location. Olivet operates a number of different campuses, in line with its web site, and it’s accredited by the Affiliation for Biblical Greater Schooling Fee on Accreditation.

Olivet’s troubles began in 2018, when its relationship with Newsweek Media Group came under scrutiny by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The office was investigating free advertising Olivet offered in Newsweek to county officials in New York when looking to start its new satellite campus. The full-page ads, promoting a local airport and tourism in the county and published over the course of three months, were worth an estimated $149,000, The Chronicle reported on the time.

Later that very same yr, the previous mother or father firm of Newsweek, IBT Media, together with the Christian Media Company and Olivet, have been charged in a $35-million scheme to defraud lenders and procure loans to maintain the businesses working and for Olivet to purchase land in New York, the New York Post reported.

All events concerned would ultimately plead responsible to expenses associated to the scheme, with Olivet additionally paying the $1.25-million high-quality.

Johnathan Davis, a co-founder of IBT Media and its chief govt, additionally co-owns Newsweek. Davis is married to Tracy Davis, who was president of Olivet when the faculty pleaded responsible to the money-laundering accusations.

The opposite co-owner of Newsweek, Chief Government and President Dev Pragad, instructed the journal he had left Jang’s Christian sect and had no ties to Olivet College.

Johnathan Davis didn’t reply a LinkedIn messages searching for remark. Pragad directed a reporter to a spokeswoman for Newsweek.

The spokeswoman wrote in a press release that “since turning into an impartial entity in 2018, Newsweek has been firmly dedicated to sustaining the independence and integrity of the newsroom” and that the newsroom’s latest article on New York shutting down the faculty within the state “is only one instance of Newsweek’s reporting on the Olivet group — and it’s the type of work that reminds all of us why you will need to champion high quality journalism on the highest requirements.”

Tracy Davis is not president of Olivet, however “has continued her employment on the establishment because the college’s dean of educational affairs, with a particular deal with the college’s New York state operations,” Murphy wrote.

Her employment at Olivet, together with that of different high-level directors and board members for the faculty all through the time of the felony conspiracy, all served as a part of the division’s reasoning to disclaim Olivet’s request to proceed tutorial operations in New York, in line with the letter.

In accordance with Murphy’s response letter, Olivet had been working out of compliance with state Board of Regents guidelines in regards to the “requirements for the registration of undergraduate and graduate curricula,” significantly with regard to its monetary sources to perform the mission of a faculty.

Olivet argued that its latest authorized issues have been “unfair to think about” for its renewal software. “Quite the opposite,” Murphy writes in response, “these failings are half of a bigger sample of poor administration, and addressing such issues solely after being caught in a felony conspiracy doesn’t render them moot.”

Murphy wrote that Olivet has a “demonstrated sample” of “allegedly defaulting on contracted cost phrases” in a overview of the greater than 50 lawsuits the college knowledgeable the state of. “In some circumstances, Olivet settled circumstances after which once more defaulted on the settlement settlement.” The lawsuits collectively, he writes, current “a transparent image of Olivet’s routine failure to offer competent stewardship of the establishment by way of clearly established insurance policies and packages.”

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