OK. This is a head-scratcher:
A Louisville-based ministry and a large Arizona church are suing each other over the disputed sale of an unaccredited online university last year, each accusing the other of fraud.
The Louisville Courier-Journal outlines the dispute between Child of the King Ministries of Louisville and Church of the Nations in Arizona over the $400,000 of American International University (not to be confused with American InterContintental University). Child of the King claims it hasn’t been paid as per the agreement; Church of the Nations claims that there’s no there there: in other words, the college is not recognized by accrediting agencies and furthermore, no assets were transferred in the sale. Which sounds like they paid $400,000 for a web address. (For a look at the school’s website–for what it’s worth–click here.)
According to the lawsuit filed by Church of the Nations, “Defendants provided plaintiff with nothing, no books, no records, no students, no websites, nothing of any value,” it said. “… To the extent that anything of value was to be given, nothing was.”
But there’s got to be more to the good old AIU than that, right?
Mmm. Not so sure. The shcool lists its administrative offices on Tidwell Drive in Alpharetta, next to Grimes Automotive Machine Shop and Lethal Injection Tuning, where everybody hangs out. AIU’s “regulatory offices” are in the Bahamas and AIU posts a badge on its website from “National Accreditation for Colleges and Schools,” an organization that is based in Atlanta (I’ve been blogging about Georgia colleges for a year, and I’d never heard of that agency before). Even the school’s web address is sketchy: www.aiuedu.us. Usually the “edu” is the suffix, not tucked into the address in a way that might be interpreted as an attempt to make people think it’s a normal college.
The Courier-Journal reports:
American International University was incorporated in 2001 with the address of 1004 Walnut St. in Jeffersonville, according to records with the Indiana Secretary of State. T.E. and Brian Beckham were among the founding officers. Its stated purpose was as “an academic and spiritual religious educational institute of biblical teachings and related subjects and natural health.”
The name American International University does not turn up in a search of various standard accrediting bodies and government databases of proprietary and higher-education schools in Kentucky, Indiana or Arizona.
Attorney Scott Abell, representing Child of the King, said the ministry had planned to use proceeds from the sale for a substance-abuse counseling program.
“Child of the King Ministries Inc. wishes to emphasize that this is simply a civil dispute between religious entities and does not represent an attack on the good works of the parties,” he said in a statement.
That’s pretty charitable, but Child of the King has already gotten $130,000 out of the deal. Meanwhile, Church of the Nations is out the $130,000 it made as the down payment before balking at paying any more money. And it’s crying foul.
For the record, Child of the King, founded in 1995, promotes a “Messianic Jewish/Orthodox Christian” faith. Michael Marden, pastor of Church of the Nations, founded in 2003, claims he founded a church tha grew to thousands of members before the treasurer embezzzled $20 million and ruined him.
And now this. Just terrible. To read the Courier-Herald article, click here.