Eric Metaxas Stands By Ecclesia College President Indicted in Arkansas Kickback Scheme

Earlier today, popular Christian author Eric Metaxas posted on the Ecclesia College Facebook page and tweeted his support for embattled Ecclesia College president Oren Paris III. On March 2, Paris was indicted for fraud in connection with a kickback scheme which had already taken down an Arkansas state representative. In January, Micah Neal pleaded guilty to fraud and allegedly accepting bribes from Paris. Despite Rep. Neal's admission of guilt, Paris has repeatedly denied any wrong doing.On … [Read more...]

Three People Listed by Ecclesia College as Regents Didn’t Know They Were on the Board

Now that's embarrassing.Steve Henderson, H.D. McCarty and Pat Boone are listed by Ecclesia College as members of their Board of Regents. However, the men now say they didn't know they were listed as members. Pat Boone told Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter Bill Bowden he never heard of the school.Henderson and McCarty both know about the school and know beleaguered president Oren Paris but they didn't know they were on the Ecclesia Board.Paris has been indicted on charges of fraud … [Read more...]

Ecclesia College President Oren Paris Among New Indictments in Arkansas Bribery Scandal

The other shoe dropped today.After Arkansas state representative Micah Neal was indicted for his part in a kickback scheme involving Western Arkansas non-profits, including Ecclesia College, speculation mounted that state senator Jon Woods would also be indicted. The fate of others mentioned in the Neal indictment was not as clear. However, today a federal grand jury released indictments of Woods, Ecclesia College president Oren Paris III and their mutual friend Randell Shelton, Jr.Read … [Read more...]

Ecclesia College: There Will Be No New Statement about the Arkansas Bribery Scandal

Just a little while ago, this statement appeared on the Ecclesia College Facebook page: Ecclesia College Ecclesia has previously released a statement regarding the Micah Neal plea agreement and will not be issuing any further statement at this time. You can read the prior statement denying any wrongdoing here.For more on Ecclesia College and the Arkansas bribery scandal, read here, here, here, here, here, and here.I suspect Ecclesia's attorneys have advised anyone associated with the c … [Read more...]

Over $600,000 of State Funding Went to Ecclesia College in FY 2013

Yesterday, Max Brantley at the Arkansas blog posted results of his freedom of information request from the state government. He was able to get emails regarding funds funneled to Ecclesia College as well as the subpoena to the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District from investigators looking into the Arkansas bribery scandal.I found one email especially interesting. In it, the NWAEDD sent a listing of grants issued by the District to Ecclesia College. See it below:The … [Read more...]

Bible College at Center of Arkansas Bribery Scandal is Actually a Church

In fact, Ecclesia College is a part of a church called Ecclesia, Inc.According to Guidestar, Ecclesia, Inc. "is not required to file an annual return with the IRS because it is a church." Unlike other non-profit entities, Ecclesia isn't accountable to the public via the annual 990 filing. Somehow the college and several other activities are considered a church by the IRS. On Ecclesia College's website, a list of organizations are provided which are a part of the "church" or what they call … [Read more...]

Ecclesia College Bans Questions about Arkansas Bribery Scandal

Last week, Arkansas state representative Micah Neal pleaded guilty to fraud and accepting bribes from two non-profits in his district in exchange for state government discretionary funds. One of the non-profits has been identified as Ecclesia College, a Bible college in Springdale, Arkansas. In the plea agreement with Rep. Neal, the president of Ecclesia College -- Oren Paris III -  is referred to as one of those who authorized payments to Rep. Neal. After this news emerged, Paris issued a … [Read more...]

Arkansas Bribery Scandal: Will Oren Paris’ Denial Be Enough?

Last night on Facebook, Ecclesia College's president Oren Paris III denied any wrongdoing in the emerging Arkansas bribery scandal. Yesterday, state representative Micah Neal admitted conspiring with an as yet unnamed state senator to secure bribes from two non-profits, one being Ecclesia College, in exchange for funds administered by the state's General Improvement Fund.Paris "unequivocally" stated "that neither I nor Ecclesia College have been party to illegal activity." Paris' denial … [Read more...]