Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Olivet fails to close escrow on Bethany University

Well, this is big news. The Northern California-Nevada District of the Assemblies of God just sent out this press release:

Bethany University Chairman of the Board, Reverend James Braddy, has announced that the sale of the Bethany Campus in Scotts Valley to Olivet University failed to close escrow on April 17, 2012. Therefore the sales agreement is no longer in force and the campus is back on the market. Reverend Braddy stated that the original agreement called for escrow to close on November 30, 2011. Olivet University had requested three extensions. In each case, Olivet was unable to perform according to the mutually agreed upon contract. Negotiations for a fourth extension did not prove acceptable to either Olivet or Bethany. The last agreed upon extension ended at 5:00 p.m. April 17, 2012, with Olivet University unable to meet the mutually accepted terms of sale.

Bethany has offered to lease the campus to Olivet University until the close of the school year. Bethany will aggressively be marketing the campus with a hoped for sale by the end of summer. The Board of Trustees regrets the failure to successfully negotiate the sale to Olivet University as it hoped this would have kept a viable Christian College in Scotts Valley.

William Wagner made some comments to the Santa Cruz Sentinel yesterday that made it sound like the deal might still happen:

Dr. William Wagner, Olivet's president, also declined to elaborate, saying only that "the whole thing is still open because there are a lot of different things we're still negotiating," and that Olivet is "not leaving anytime soon."

But this press release makes it sound like the deal is finished, for all practical purposes. Given all the concerns that have been raised about Olivet University, I can’t say that I’m disappointed, though I know that this puts the NCN District in a pretty tough spot, and of course isn’t very good news for Bethany’s creditors either. I should be clear that I don’t care who the District sells the campus to – I’d be fine with the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh setting up a commune there if it got the District out of a tight spot. My objection was never to the purchase of the campus, but rather to a questionable organization assuming Bethany’s identity and heritage. I’m breathing somewhat easier now it appears that won’t happen.

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