Even though Brandon Ambrosino attended Liberty University, the school founded by Jerry Falwell and currently run by his son Jerry Falwell, Jr., he didn’t graduate from there. Coming out as gay when you’re at a fundamentalist Christian school makes life difficult. He told his story in The Atlantic several years ago.
But the good thing about attending Liberty for as long as he did is that Ambrosino still has contacts at the school. That gives him an edge when doing investigative reporting about the university. And now that Falwell, Jr. has linked himself to Donald Trump, there’s plenty of reason to dig into the school’s finances.
Writing for POLITICO, Ambrosino just posted a bombshell story about how the Falwells appears to own a hostel in Miami that he describes as a “gay-friendly flophouse with an on-site liquor store.” The things people can do at the hostel would get them kicked out of Liberty in a minute. But the hypocrisy of that isn’t the story.
The story is really about who paid for that hostel, and whether Liberty is violating IRS tax exemption rules in the process.
… For two years, the Falwell-controlled LLC that owned the hostel (as well as the land containing the liquor store and neighboring Italian restaurant) was based on property in Virginia owned by Liberty University.
Someone could argue that a $225,000 sale is a drop in the bucket for an institution with assets valued in the billions. But that justification misses the point, says [attorney Eve] Borenstein. “Liberty says they did this transaction correctly, but [POLITICO Magazine] had to uncover it — so there’s smoke. And you don’t know if there are other transactions to ask about. The logical next question is, ‘What else has the school left out of its tax filings?’”
The story also mentions the involvement of Trey Falwell (Jr.’s son) in all of these shenanigans. Liberty denies any wrongdoing, of course, but they also refused to answer a lot of Ambrosino’s questions.
All the more reason for IRS agents to do an investigation of their own.
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