Resigned president is suing Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for defamation

James Hartley, Fort Worth Star-Telegram on

Published in Religious News

In news releases from April 19, 2023, Roberts is quoted as saying that a task force investigated Greenway’s management of seminary funds.

“The findings demonstrated a need for greater accountability and oversight for the institution,” Roberts is quoted as saying.

In another news release on May 30, 2023, Roberts said “it was the growing involvement of trustee leadership and our insistence of greater presidential accountability and resistance to our attempts to implement financial safeguards that led to Adam Greenway’s resignation.”

Greenway says in the lawsuit that the references to spending and money mismanagement come from renovations done to the 10,000-square-foot house for the seminary president on campus. The building was not only a private residence but a place to host official gatherings and functions for the seminary. It included four offices, public gathering areas and a kitchen equipped to facilitate large events.

In the lawsuit, Greenway says he was required as a part of his employment to live in the president’s home. When he moved in, though, he found mold, maintenance problems and that the house was “unfit for habitation or use.” The lawsuit also notes that much of the furniture in the house was removed before Greenway arrived. He says Roberts knew about the condition of the building and saw the mold himself. The renovations were made in February 2019 and included an espresso bar that cost $11,123.49, a water filtration system and new accessories.

Greenway says in the suit the repairs and renovations were made with the approval of Roberts and the seminary’s treasurer.

He also notes in the lawsuit that he laid off many of the 14 people on staff in the house to serve the previous president, including a personal chef, in an effort to cut back on seminary spending. If food for a large gathering was needed, the seminary would cater or bring in cooks for the event.


In late 2021, mold was found in the HVAC systems in the house, according to the lawsuit. Risk management for the seminary determined that the systems required replacement.

Annual audits of the seminary’s finances reported to its board of trustees, according to the suit. From 2019 to 2022, while Greenway was president, the board took the audit reports and certified that “the expenses and perquisites of the president are not excessive and are in keeping with biblical stewardship, including every emolument and personal benefit of any kind (and specifically including housing, travel, automobile(s), and personal assistants) all valued at market rates.”

But in June 2023, the task force assigned to investigate Greenway’s spending said that he “engaged in a pattern of spending that the task force believes did not reflect proper stewardship of seminary resources,” according to the lawsuit. The task force noted that $1.5 million was spent from 2019 to 2022 to renovate the president’s home. The task force also mentioned nearly $60,000 for Christmas decorations, more than $25,000 for artwork and the cost of the espresso bar.

The task force also referred to the $180,000 spent to fix the HVAC system as “optional,” the lawsuit alleges.

Greenway’s suit says the task force was provided with specially selected and incomplete financial records that led to its findings.

The former seminary president is suing Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Roberts for defamation, breach of contract and allegations that Roberts and the seminary broke legally made promises.

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