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Statement regarding the rental of Liberty University-controlled, off-campus parking lots for Virginia GOP convention

Liberty University tries to be a good neighbor and promote civic engagement. When asked by the Virginia GOP officials about the possibility of leasing portions of retail center lots off campus for a day to facilitate a COVID-19 plan for its convention, Liberty said it would consider it, provided that full rental cost for the use was paid.

So far, Liberty has not agreed to any particular plan or contract. If Liberty should reach an agreement for the Virginia GOP to rent off-campus parking areas, Liberty would do likewise on comparable terms if another political party or candidate asked. Excess parking in retail centers controlled by Liberty University have been leased on a temporary basis for years to carnivals, circuses, car dealerships, and the like.

Liberty University must now correct a news article published online by the Virginia Mercury on Feb. 23, 2021, and picked up by other news outlets and social media.

Members of the GOP Central Committee have contacted University officials within the past week about the possibility of leasing at full cost some University-controlled parking lots off-campus in Lynchburg, Va. That much is a fact.

However, the University was not contacted by any media to confirm the published facts that presumably were supplied by state GOP officials. As a result, the article misleads on several facts.

Here are the facts.

Liberty University:

    • Has not agreed to any particular plan or contract.
    • Has been clear that using any main campus parking lots would not be an option.
    • Never discussed use of any parking garages, which would also not be an option.
    • Did not agree to a one-location plan where one parking lot would handle all the traffic associated with a convention. The discussions were always about multiple lots that were spread out.
    • Never mentioned a number of parking spaces or square footage to be used.  No details or agreements have been worked out. As of today, there has been no site visit.
    • Has not been notified that the date of the convention has been switched to May 8.
    • The retail center parking facilities that Liberty would offer through its real estate holding companies were only offered at market rent like that charged other users who rent these kinds of parking lots and on comparable terms for such temporary use.

 

The day after the erroneous story of the Virginia Mercury was posted, Liberty University was contacted by a spokesperson for the GOP Central Committee to arrange a visit to the sites and to discuss plans with the understanding that many details need to be worked out for an agreement.

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