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October 23, 2005

Sunday God-blogging: Richard Scrushy edition

UPDATED 10/26: Remember Richard Scrushy—the former HealthSouth CEO who was acquitted in June of masterminding a scheme to inflate the company’s profits by $2.7 billion? Scrushy’s acquittal was met with stunned disbelief—five former HealthSouth chief financial officers testified against him, and the case looked watertight. But the prosecution reckoned without religion:

[J]urors in the case embraced the defense portrayal of Scrushy as a deeply religious son of the South and rejected prosecution witnesses as self-serving and untrustworthy, legal experts said.
… During the trial, Scrushy appeared on a morning television show in Birmingham called “Viewpoint” in which he and his wife read Bible verses. He began preaching in fundamentalist churches and invited pastors to the trial. Several jurors said in pretrial questionnaires that they attended church.

Now, Scrushy and his wife are tightening their embrace of his (literal) savior by founding a ministry—tax-exempt, naturally:

Richard and Leslie Scrushy Ministries was incorporated in Jefferson County last month. Records list the charity as being based at 2310 Marin Drive, the private company housed on the Scrushy estate in Vestavia Hills.
The nature of business is listed as “religious, charitable, literary, educational purposes,” all categories making it eligible for tax-exempt status under IRS code 501(c)(3).
… Meanwhile, Scrushy and his wife continue hosting the “Viewpoint” religious television show, though it has moved from studios at Guiding Light Church.

It’s not surprising that Scrushy continues to wear his faith on his sleeve, because he still faces several civil lawsuits—all enthusiastically supported by his former employer:

Under Scrushy’s so-called stewardship, the Company’s former management touted earnings and revenues that have now been proven to be a fiction. Our new management team, with the assistance of numerous external resources, has determined that the internal controls were completely inadequate and millions of dollars of shareholder money were wasted on pet projects completely unrelated to HealthSouth’s core operations. Among the beneficiaries of the fraudulent conduct of the Company’s former management is Richard Scrushy. Through civil actions, numerous outside parties, including the SEC, certain shareholders and bondholders and other parties, are seeking to recover what they consider ill-gotten gains.

Hopefully Scrushy isn’t overseeing his new ministry’s finances.

UPDATE: The prospects for Scrushy Ministries just got a whole lot worse.

Posted by Stephen at 1:19 AM in Business | Religion + cults | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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