Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, reached a settlement in a Miami court case over a business deal that resulted from a friendship with a former hotel pool attendant. As part of the settlement, filed Friday, Falwell will pay an unspecified sum to Gordon Bello, a lawyer who claimed an ownership stake in a South Beach hostel the Falwells purchased in 2013. The hostel is listed as gay-friendly on the website gayweekends.com.
Why would the president of a Christian college buy a hostel in Miami? Falwell worked as a lawyer and real estate developer before taking the helm at the evangelical school in Lynchburg, Va., his father, Jerry Falwell Sr., co-founded. Several reports have said Falwell bought the hostel as a business venture with Giancarlo Granda, a hotel pool attendant Falwell and his wife, Rebecca, met on vacation in Miami Beach. The investment led to the uncovering of an allegation that Michael Cohen, a former lawyer for President Donald Trump, helped suppress compromising photos of the Falwells that people connected to the hostel had. Falwell denies that the photos existed and that he promised Bello a stake in the hostel.
Dig deeper: Read WORLD Magazine’s 2018 cover story about conflict between Liberty and student journalists.
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Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.