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Judge OKs Charleston Southern settlement

CHARLESTON, S.C. (BP)—A federal judge has approved a $3.9 million settlement shielding Charleston Southern University from further liability in the $90-million fraud case of Al Parish, a former economist and professor at the Baptist-affiliated school.

Without such a settlement, U.S. District Judge David Norton wrote in his opinion, the alternative would be a “drawn-out, inefficient and chaotic administration of justice.”

“The fairness of this solution is clear in light of the alternative,” Norton wrote in his opinion, according to a report in the Charleston Post and Courier May 14.

J. Rutledge Young Jr., an attorney for Charleston Southern University, described the agreement as a great deal for investors and the school. In April, he had noted, “It is critical for CSU to be able to put this issue behind us.” The university is affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention.

However, nine of approximately 500 investors in Parish’s “informal investment pools” have objected to the settlement and could ask Norton to reconsider his decision. They also could appeal the ruling.

In an agreement negotiated with court-appointed receivership attorney David Dantzler filed Feb. 5, the university’s insurance company will pay $3.75 million and the school will pay $160,000.

Charleston Southern also has agreed to waive its claim to $8.4 million which it had invested with Parish until other investors recover at least 18 percent of their investment.

Parish, who was fired by Charleston Southern University after fraud charges were filed against him nearly a year ago, pleaded guilty in October to two counts of mail fraud and one count of providing false information to the Securities and Exchange Commission. He will be sentenced June 26.

Charleston Southern has denied it knew of any illegal activities that Parish conducted through Parish Economics LLC. The university hired Parish as a professor in 1990. He also directed the university’s Center for Economic Forecasting. His Parish Economics office was not located on the CSU campus.
Reported by the Baptist Courier, newsjournal of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.

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