New York Shuts Down Olivet College Amid Federal Cash-Laundering Probe

New York shut down Olivet College’s operations within the state, saying the Evangelical Christian faculty was nonetheless largely run by a gaggle of David Jang disciples linked to a 2018 prison conspiracy.

Jang, a Korean American cleric, based Olivet in 2000. His followers are actually within the crosshairs of Division of Homeland Safety investigators probing whether or not the college was a part of a scheme to launder cash for criminals in China and the US.

New York Shuts Down Olivet College Amid Federal Cash-Laundering Probe
An indication close to the gated entrance to Olivet College in Dover, New York.

The stinging rebuke by New York’s Deputy Commissioner of Training cited “a sample of mismanagement” on the college and its ties to “prison exercise” in ending Olivet’s authorization to function credit-bearing programs or applications in New York.

(Olivet’s campuses in Tennessee and California are more likely to additionally come below scrutiny, and DHS could revoke Olivet’s authorization to enroll worldwide college students.)

The schooling division’s determination to shut the Olivet campuses in Manhattan and Dover, New York, after a two-year evaluation, was made on Might 17, weeks after Newsweek reported that DHS investigators had searched the premises of Olivet’s headquarters in Anza, California, as a part of an ongoing prison investigation into visa fraud, labor trafficking and cash laundering.

Somewhat-known bible faculty, Olivet College was thrust into the nationwide media highlight in 2018 when the Manhattan District Lawyer introduced indictments in a fraud and cash laundering probe unrelated to the present federal investigation. Olivet pleaded responsible to cash laundering, as did a number of of Jang’s followers and corporations they ran.

Deputy Commissioner of Training William P. Murphy wrote to Olivet on Thursday, rejecting the school’s enchantment of the Might 17 determination, saying the school had accomplished far too little to scrub up its act. He blocked Olivet from re-applying for certification to function in New York. The division shared the letter with Newsweek and declined additional remark. The choice took impact instantly.

Olivet lacked the monetary sources to meet its mission, Murphy mentioned. An schooling division evaluation discovered that “Olivet has a well-established sample of noncompliance with legal guidelines, guidelines, and laws,” he wrote. “The file reveals to me a bigger sample of solely coming into compliance solely when compelled to take action.”

Olivet didn’t purge its management of executives who held workplace when the college dedicated the monetary crimes uncovered by the Manhattan District Lawyer in 2018, Murphy mentioned, pointing to Tracy Davis, president of the school on the time of the responsible plea. She later moved into a brand new function as Educational Dean. Tracy Davis is the spouse of Johnathan Davis, a co-owner of Newsweek. The opposite co-owner, Newsweek CEO and President Dev Pragad, mentioned earlier this yr that he had left the Olivet sect and wished to forestall Jang’s followers from interfering within the firm and its newsroom. Johnathan Davis is the CEO of IBT Media, which pleaded responsible to fraud prices introduced by the Manhattan DA. IBT Media owned Newsweek for a number of years, spinning it off simply earlier than the 2018 indictments have been introduced.

Tracy Davis and Johnathan Davis
Tracy Davis, former president and educational dean of Olivet College, together with her husband, Johnathan Davis, a co-owner of Newsweek.
Hudson E. Tsuei

5 of the six present Olivet board members held senior positions on the faculty in the course of the crimes uncovered in 2018, and Barnabas Jung, the chief monetary officer at the moment, was nonetheless in the identical function, Murphy wrote. He harshly criticized Olivet’s monetary administration, writing of “a sample of mismanagement of the establishment’s funds, indicating a scarcity of capability or lack of dedication on the a part of Olivet to handle its funds in a fashion conducive to working a degree-granting establishment on this State.” Among the many proof Murphy reviewed have been 50 lawsuits in opposition to Olivet, most for failing to pay on contracted phrases and 20 tax liens. Olivet had settled all however three of the lawsuits, Murphy mentioned.

In an announcement on its web site, Olivet College made no point out of Murphy’s causes or its enchantment of the schooling division’s determination. “Olivet College at all times envisioned a number of makes use of for our Dover location past the college itself,” the assertion mentioned. The sprawling Dover campus, a former psychiatric hospital in Dutchess County, about 80 miles north of Manhattan, could be used to “serve evangelicals from around the globe greater than ever,” Olivet mentioned, and would quickly host a mission heart, a enterprise heart, sports activities and leisure services, a hospital, a know-how park and an “evangelical themed museum.”

“Olivet College New York will probably be stepping again from providing credit-bearing programs for now, with the intention of diligently searching for to open a chartered establishment on the proper time and place in New York—an intention expressed in our constitution software presently pending with the New York State Training Division.”

Newsweek reached out to the college for added remark and obtained a response Saturday night. “Olivet College is disenchanted by the willpower of the New York State Division of Training to disclaim renewal of Olivet’s authority to function its campus in New York. Whereas the College is evaluating its authorized choices with respect to this determination, Olivet is complying with the willpower and advising its college students and constituents of the result and its affect.”

Murphy made no point out of the constitution software and advised Olivet his determination was closing. He copied his letter to the Pupil and Alternate Customer Program, the arm of the Division of Homeland Safety that authorizes faculties to carry overseas college students to the US.

Other than the campus in California, Olivet operates the Jubilee College, a performing arts and music faculty, in Nashville, Tennessee.

The historical past of the totally different Olivet entities stretches again to 2000, in accordance with their numerous web sites. That was the yr that Jang based the Olivet Theological Faculty and Seminary, later integrated as Olivet College. Olivet Meeting USA and Olivet Meeting Europe each say they started in 2000 as associations of church buildings by alumni of the seminary. The World Olivet Meeting, which additionally operates out of Dover, New York, says it started the identical yr. Its web site now lists greater than 120 international locations during which it says it has members.

Whereas Jang’s followers say their ministry is actually international, federal investigators are zeroing in on Olivet’s hyperlinks to China from the place the school brings many college students to the US. One former pupil, a pastor named JianGang “Frank” Lan, has been charged in North Carolina for possession of counterfeit items. A North Carolina choose ordered Lan’s arrest on Monday after he failed to look in court docket, and set his bond at $1 million. Lan is in China, his lawyer mentioned. Newsweek uncovered Lan’s hyperlinks to the Olivet Meeting earlier than Olivet College confirmed that he had graduated from the school in 2012.

Three senior legislation enforcement officers advised Newsweek on situation of anonymity that they suspected hyperlinks from the Lan’s case to Chinese language organized crime and drug cartels, which look to China to purchase the precursor chemical substances wanted to make the highly effective opioid fentanyl that has been behind a surge of lethal drug overdoses within the U.S.

“Renewal of PTO [permission to operate] on this State is just not an entitlement, because the enchantment papers recommend it to be,” Deputy Commissioner Murphy wrote, summing up his scathing critique of Olivet. “PTO is a privilege.”

(Obtain the complete PDF right here.)

Replace, 7/2, 9:25 p.m. ET: A response from Olivet College, obtained post-publication, has been added to this story.

Hafidah Rosyid

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