New buyer of Temple’s former art school campus appears to be a religious group with college ties stuck in embezzlement scheme

An international evangelical group with links to a college that pleaded guilty in 2020 in a embezzlement scheme involving former owners of Newsweek magazine appears to have bought the former campus of Temple University’s Montgomery County Art School.

“A nonprofit religious organization” acquired the former campus of the Tyler School of Art in Elkins Park for $ 3 million with a mortgage partially secured by a property in Hudson Valley, New York City of Dover, he said. lender Kennedy Funding in a release Tuesday.

Kennedy Funding has not identified the organization, but the Dover area is home to a campus of California-based Olivet University, founded by Korean American pastor David Jang, and the US offices of the Olivet World Assembly Ministry. The Dover property backing the Tyler campus loan is owned by a company called Duoworks Inc., whose president, Ruby Hwang, is president of Olivet Assembly Inc.

Graduates from the university founded World Olivet Assembly, according to the school’s website. The university and the assembly are separate legal entities, the documents show.

Tyler’s 14-acre campus was part of the town of Cheltenham estate of financier George Elkins, whose family donated the property to Temple in 1934.

Temple left the campus in 2009, when he moved his arts program to a new building on his main campus in North Philadelphia, selling the Elkins Park property to investors eight years later for an undisclosed sum. The property, an academic home to 750 students before it closed, has been vacant ever since.

“Returning the purpose to this large, historic property is significant to the Elkins Park community at large, which has seen this campus abandoned for so long,” Kevin Wolfer, CEO of Kennedy Funding, said in the statement.

A spokesperson for Englewood Cliffs, a New Jersey-based lender, said the company had no information about the buyer or the buyer’s plans.

The messages for the Olivet Assembly and the Olivet University were not immediately returned.

Cheltenham Town Council Director Bob Zienkowski said buyers of such large tracts typically inform local officials of their intentions before completing an acquisition to ensure such plans do not conflict with area regulations, but that no “information, plans or otherwise” was received from the buyers or sellers on Tyler’s campus.

“It just seems a little weird and weird, but it might just be me,” she said.

Jang founded Olivet Theological College and Seminary in 2000 in Seoul and Los Angeles to serve “as a ‘seedbed’ for missionary training and service,” according to parish priest’s website.

The school was reconstituted as Olivet University in 2004 when it moved to Northern California, then moved to a former University of California-Berkeley continuing education campus in downtown San Francisco.

The university’s headquarters in Northern California has since moved from San Francisco to nearby Marin County, while its main campus has moved south to the southern California hinterland city of Anza. The student population on the main campus was 1,160 in 2018, state data to exhibit.

It has satellite schools in seven other cities, including the Dover headquarters on 500 acres of what had once been a psychiatric center.

The university offers programs in theology, music, journalism, graphic design, information technology, business, language education, and engineering, his website He says.

“Each of Olivet University’s schools is designed to enable men and women to use various skills to reach the ‘network generation’ for Jesus Christ through the vocational ministry and to enable students to achieve a biblical worldview,” he wrote. on the site.

In 2018, the university was targeted in an investigation in which the Manhattan District Attorney’s office raided the Dover campus and Newsweek offices.

Prosecutors alleged that Olivet University, along with former executives of a company that owned Newsweek with links to Jang’s religious group, lied about the financial condition of their organizations to borrow $ 35 million for high-end computer servers. high, so he used the money for other purposes.

Olivet University pleaded guilty in February to a conspiracy count, felony and document forgery count, a misdemeanor, and agreed to pay $ 1.25 million.

This article was updated after initial publication.

About Myra R.

Myra R.

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