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Embattled Oral Roberts president resigns

Richard Roberts, the embattled president of Oral Roberts University, tendered his resignation on Friday, officials said.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The president of Oral Roberts University, who is facing accusations he misspent university funds to support a lavish lifestyle, resigned from his position, officials said Friday.

Richard Roberts' resignation is effective immediately, according to a statement e-mailed from George Pearsons, chairman of the school's Board of Regents.

Roberts and the university have come under fire since a lawsuit was filed by three former professors.

The lawsuit includes allegations of a $39,000 shopping tab at one store for Richard Roberts' wife, Lindsay, a $29,411 Bahamas senior trip on the university jet for one of Roberts' daughters, and a stable of horses for the Roberts children.

Roberts, son of school founder and televangelist Oral Roberts, had been on temporary leave from the evangelical university, fighting the accusations against him. In a recent interview, the couple denied wrongdoing.

Roberts has said the lawsuit amounted to "intimidation, blackmail and extortion."

On Friday, he said in the statement that he loved the university. He became president in 1993. "I love ORU with all my heart," Roberts said in the statement. "I love the students, faculty, staff and administration and I want to see God's best for all of them."

The school's regents will meet Monday and Tuesday to determine action in the search process for a new president, Pearsons said in the statement.

Executive Regent Billy Joe Daugherty will assume the president's administrative responsibilities, working with Oral Roberts until the regents' meeting, the statement said.