Liberty disputes reports about Falwell severance payment

FILE - In this Nov. 16, 2016 file photo, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., pauses during an interview in his office at the school in Lynchburg, Va. On Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, Falwell said that he has submitted his resignation as head of evangelical Liberty University. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 16, 2016 file photo, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., pauses during an interview in his office at the school in Lynchburg, Va. On Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, Falwell said that he has submitted his resignation as head of evangelical Liberty University. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

RICHMOND, Va. – Liberty University said it paid its recently resigned president, Jerry Falwell Jr., the two years' base salary owed under his employment contract Tuesday.

The Lynchburg, Virginia-based Christian university issued a brief statement about the compensation that did not provide an exact figure but said previous “media reports regarding the size and terms" of Falwell's severance were incorrect. Falwell stepped down in August from his post at the school founded by his late evangelical father after a series of scandals.

“By his pre-existing contract, Mr. Falwell is entitled to two years’ base salary as severance,” the statement said. “Additional compensation that Mr. Falwell receives under his agreement following his resignation are only accrued retirement benefits. These accrued retirement payments reflect reasonable terms after 30 years of service to Liberty, with 13 as university president."

Falwell, who declined comment in response to questions from The Associated Press last month about the terms of his employment contract and exit package, has previously discussed the matter with other news organizations that reported he would receive $10.5 million. He could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

Falwell’s “reportable compensation” from Liberty was $1,099,356, according to a 2018 tax form the school provided AP. Other compensation was listed as $59,655.

Liberty's statement also said there was no severance or retirement negotiated in exchange for Falwell's resignation last month.

Falwell, an early supporter and close ally of President Donald Trump, resigned after Reuters published an interview with Giancarlo Granda, a much younger business partner of the Falwell family, who said that he had a yearslong sexual relationship with Falwell's wife, Becki Falwell, and Jerry Falwell participated in some of the liaisons as a voyeur.

Although the Falwells have acknowledged a sexual relationship between Becki Falwell and Granda, Jerry Falwell has said he had no role in the affair.