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Report: Former SWBTS President Adam Greenway Threatens $5 Million Lawsuit

Adam Greenway, who resigned as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in September 2022, is reportedly threatening to sue the Texas-based institution for $5 million. According to The Tennessean, Greenway’s attorney, Andrew Jones, sent a demand letter to the seminary last month, claiming that SWBTS damaged Greenway’s reputation and his ability to seek further employment.

Adam Greenway addresses the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in June 2019 / RNS photo by Butch Dill

Greenway left his helm after 3½ years. In June 2023, the seminary’s board reported that the former president had “engaged in a pattern of spending that…did not reflect proper stewardship of seminary resources.” Its Summary of Findings listed expenditures for the president’s residence that included $11,000 for an espresso machine and almost $60,000 for Christmas decorations.

Attorney: SWBTS Disparaged Adam Greenway With ‘Grossly Inflated’ Figures

The demand letter from Jones, dated Sept. 25, stated, “The framing of these expenditures as unauthorized and lavish personal gain undertaken by Dr. Greenway is an assertion of financial impropriety on par with embezzlement.” Reports of Greenway’s spending were “grossly inflated and false,” the attorney added. For example, he said the espresso machine actually cost $5,952.

Not only did the seminary board’s revelations leave Greenway “humiliated,” Jones said. It also “harmed his job prospects” after he left SWBTS. According to The Tennessean, Greenway and the seminary had previously agreed not to disparage each other. Going public with lists of expenditures violated that agreement, Jones said.

Responding to Jones’ letter, SWBTS attorney Michael D. Anderson wrote on Oct. 11 that the seminary “has fully complied with its obligations under the Settlement Agreement and will continue to do so.” He added, “The fact that Dr. Greenway does not like the results of that financial review and the public disclosure of it (which he demanded) does not make the results of the financial review false or in any way defamatory.”

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SWBTS: Demand for Payout Is ‘Disappointing’ and ‘Absurd’

Jonathan Richard, chair of the SWBTS trustee board, described the demand letter from Adam Greenway’s attorney as “incredibly disappointing,” especially in light of the former president’s “professed love for this institution.” Richard said, “Over the past year, we have continued to pray for Dr. Greenway’s spiritual, mental, and emotional well-being as we have worked towards an amicable resolution, which we had every reason to believe had been achieved with the agreement signed in February of this year.”

His statement continued, “As stewards of precious institutional resources, we cannot in good conscience capitulate to [Greenway’s] absurd demand for $5 million. Our focus remains on confronting the financial challenges facing Southwestern, which would only be compounded by agreeing to his demand.”

Adam Greenway was elected to the SWBTS presidency in 2019. His predecessor, Paige Patterson, was implicated in mishandling sexual abuse allegations within the Southern Baptist Convention. Greenway’s successor, David Dockery, was named in April 2023. Dockery had been serving as interim president since Greenway’s departure in September 2022.

In June 2023, the SWBTS board of trustees revealed that seminary leaders had run up a $140 million deficit over 20 years. Citing a pattern of financial mismanagement, the institution’s accreditor warned that the seminary has two years to make improvements.

This article was originally published by ChurchLeaders.

Stephanie Martin

Stephanie Martin, a freelance writer and editor in Denver, has spent her entire 30-year journalism career in Christian publishing.