Liberty University’s homophobic president and pro-Trump Evangelical leader, Jerry Fallwell Jr., personally signed off on a real estate transaction by his nonprofit Christian university that helped his hunky personal fitness trainer obtain valuable university property, according to a Reuters report.
Around 2011, the Liberty University president and his wife, Rebecca, began personal fitness training sessions with Benjamin Crosswhite, then a 23-year-old recent Liberty graduate.
“Now, after a series of university real estate transactions signed by Falwell, Crosswhite owns a sprawling 18-acre racquet sports and fitness facility on former Liberty property. Last year, a local bank approved a line of credit allowing Crosswhite’s business to borrow as much as $2 million against the property,” Reuters reports.
Prior to the real estate deal being finalized, Falwell reportedly emailed Liberty University personnel, urging them to cut Crosswhite a “sweet deal,” which would allow him to offer private training sessions at the sports facility.
“Becki and I wouldn’t mind working out over there with Ben as a trainer because it is more private,” Falwell reportedly wrote in a 2011 email. Crosswhite would reportedly accompany the Fallwells on their private jet to provide training sessions away from the university, culminating in the 2016 deal for the sports facility.
Douglas Anderson, a governance specialist and former internal audit chief at Dow Chemical Company who reviewed the transaction for Reuters, said the transaction likely should’ve raised red flags.
“The concern is whether the university’s president wanted to do his personal trainer a favor and used Liberty assets to do it,” Anderson said. “At a minimum, the terms suggest the buyer got a great deal and Liberty got very little.”
This is the second time this summer that Falwell has been tied to strange financial dealings with a young man, reports the Advocate.
The Miami Herald and The New York Times both published reports in June outlining the details of a bizarre scandal involving a lawsuit between a Miami Beach “pool boy” and the Fallwells. The scandal also involves President Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen, who claims to have helped Falwell Jr. stop racy and “personal” photos from leaking in 2016 just months ahead of Falwell’s endorsement of Trump in 2016.
According to the Miami Herald, the national evangelical leader struck up an “unusual partnership” with “Giancarlo Granda, a handsome, 20-something pool attendant whom Jerry and his wife, Rebecca, 52, befriended at the Fontainebleau hotel in 2012, and within months, would set up as part-owner and manager of a $4.7 million South Beach hostel.”
— andy lassner (@andylassner) June 19, 2019
As the newspaper noted at the time:
It was an unusual partnership: The president of the largest Christian university in the world, a school that prohibits gay sex, agreeing to operate a Miami Beach hostel, regarded as gay friendly, in conjunction with a “pool boy” with virtually no hotel management experience after they met at the storied Fontainebleau, a favored South Florida vacation ground for the Falwells. Yet there they were, not only business partners but mingling socially at Cheeca, an idyllic, exclusive resort in the Keys.
The relationship between the Falwells and Granda forms the backdrop of an improbable Miami story that is causing political ripples beyond South Florida. It involves a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, the “pool boy” as he is described in the lawsuit, the comedian Tom Arnold, Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s now imprisoned political fixer, naked photographs — and a Miami father and son who say they were defrauded in a real estate deal then forced to change their names due to “threats.”
Queerty recently surfaced a 2017 Instagram video showing Crosswhite and Falwell working out together.
“Come on!” Crosswhite can be heard ordering Fallwell as he pushes him on a sled from behind. “Faster! Come on! Push it!”
“Let’s go!” Crosswhite demands. “Come on!”
The site also surfaced a curious interaction the two had on Instagram:
This inspired us to do little more digging into Falwell’s Instagram page, where we found another, shall we say, gem.
On March 13, 2013, Falwell posted a picture of a rainbow without a caption. The post received a mere 23 likes and one comment. The sole comment came from Crosswhite and simply reads, “I love rainbows ;)”