A written report summarizing an audit of Oral Roberts University’s finances does not exist, attorneys for the school claim in a legal filing.


A written report summarizing an audit of Oral Roberts University’s finances does not exist, attorneys for the school claim in a legal filing.
The audit was ordered last fall by ORU’s board of regents as the evangelical school became mired in debt and a spending scandal involving its former president, Richard Roberts.
It was conducted by the Washington D.C.-based firm of Miller & Chevalier, but its contents were never made public, and the school now suggests its findings were never committed to writing.
Trent Huddleston, a former senior accountant at ORU, is suing the school for wrongful termination. On Friday, he filed a motion in Tulsa County District Court asking a judge to order ORU to produce the audit, as well as bank records and meeting minutes.
For months, his attorneys, along with several professors and students, have been calling on ORU administrators to release the audit’s findings as a show of good faith.
But in a legal filing, attorneys for the school claim “no such written audit report exists,” suggesting instead that such a report was delivered verbally to school officials.
Jeremy Burton, an ORU spokesman, said in a statement Monday that Miller & Chevalier did not prepare a written report containing the results of its investigation, but instead provided an oral report to school regents.
He said ORU was unable to comment on the substance of that report because of the pending litigation, but once that has been resolved, school leaders “would consider release of the recommendations made by Miller & Chevalier, provided that the release is consistent with the board’s exercise of its fiduciary duties.”
The school is also refusing Huddleston’s requests for other records, saying they are outside the scope of discovery in the case.
“Simply filing a lawsuit does not entitle him to review all of ORU’s bank accounts,” said Jo Anne Deaton, an attorney representing the school. “There are parameters for production of documents in lawsuits. You just don’t file a lawsuit and use that as an opportunity as a fishing expedition.”
In the motion filed Friday, Huddleston’s attorneys maintained the existence of the audit report, saying it contains information substantiating his claims of financial wrongdoing at the school that caused him to be terminated.
Gary Richardson, an attorney representing Huddleston, said the filing speaks for itself.
“I’ll let each person make their own analysis,” he said.
Richardson is also representing two former ORU professors who are suing the school, claiming they were forced out after alleging financial and ethical wrongdoing on the part of Richard Roberts and his family.
Huddleston filed his initial complaint in November, alleging that he was ordered to help Richard and Lindsay Roberts “cook the books” by hiding improper and illegal financial wrongdoing from authorities and the public.
It also claimed that he was directed against his will to falsely list thousands of dollars as expenses rather than assets — which were spent remodeling the Roberts’ home — in order to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies.
Roberts resigned as president days after Huddleston’s initial lawsuit was filed. He and his wife have repeatedly denied wrongdoing.
Earlier this year, Huddleston amended his complaint, saying he discovered an unrestricted account used to funnel large sums of money through the university each month — which would exceed $1 billion on an annual basis — that wasn’t used for any legitimate university purpose.
He says he was discharged because school officials feared he would reveal that the account existed.