The new buyer of the old Temple art school campus appears to be a religious group with links to the university hooked in embezzlement scheme

An international college-linked evangelical group that pleaded guilty in 2020 to an embezzlement scheme involving the former owners of Newsweek magazine appears to have purchased the former Montgomery County School of Art campus from Temple University.

“Nonprofit Religious Organization” Acquired Former Tyler School of Art Campus in Elkins Park for $ 3 Million with Mortgage Backed in Part on Property in Hudson Valley, New York City of Dover, lender Kennedy Funding said in an outing Tuesday.

Kennedy Funding did not identify the organization, but the Dover area is home to a campus of the California-based Olivet University, founded by Korean-American pastor David Jang, and the US offices of the World Assembly Department. olives. The Dover property that backs the Tyler campus loan is owned by a company called Duoworks Inc., whose chairman, Ruby Hwang, is chairman of Olivet Assembly Inc.

University graduates founded World Olivet Assembly, according to the school’s website. The university and the assembly are separate legal entities, according to the records.

The 14-acre Tyler Campus was once part of the Cheltenham Township estate of financier George Elkins, whose family donated the property to Temple in 1934.

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

“The return to this great historic property is important to the community of Elkins Park as a whole, which has seen this campus abandoned for so long,” Kevin Wolfer, CEO of Kennedy Funding, said in the statement.

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

Messages for Olivet Assembly and Olivet University were not immediately returned.

Cheltenham Township Manager Bob Zienkowski said buyers of these large tracts typically notify local authorities of their intentions before finalizing an acquisition to ensure those plans do not conflict with the regulations of the region, but no “info or plan or anything” had been received from buyers or sellers at the Tyler campus.

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

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

The school was re-established as Olivet University in 2004, when it moved to northern California, eventually relocating to a former University of California-Berkeley continuing education campus in downtown of San Francisco.

The university’s location in Northern California has since moved from San Francisco to neighboring Marin County, while its main campus has moved south to the town of Anza in Southern California. The student population on the main campus was 1,160 in 2018, state data spectacle.

It has satellite schools in seven other towns, including Dover on 500 acres of what was once a psychiatric center.

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

“Each of the Olivet University schools is designed to enable men and women to use a variety of skills to reach the ‘network generation’ for Jesus Christ through vocation ministry, and to enable students to gain a biblical worldview, ”he writes 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 and had ties to Jang’s religious group, lied about their organizations’ financial situation to borrow $ 35 million for high-end computer servers, then used the money for other purposes. .

Olivet University pleaded guilty in February to one count of conspiracy, felony, and falsification of records, misdemeanor, and agreed to pay $ 1.25 million.

This article was updated after the initial publication.