Oral Roberts, Televangelist and University Founder

by Michael Mason


Tributes to Oral Roberts flooded the airwaves after his passing. His son Richard said that he received hundreds of condolences via text messages to his phone. But longtime Tulsans know that the name Oral Roberts solicits a more controversial message when mentioned around town.

In this special edition of Goodbye Tulsa, we talk to a man who wasn’t charmed by Roberts’ particular charisma, but rather tested by it.

Attorney Gary Richardson, whose name also elicits a strong response around Tulsa, filed a famous lawsuit against Oral Roberts University in late 2007, which ultimately led to the departure of its sitting president. Richardson’s history with Oral Roberts goes much further back, however–back to a time when Roberts had actually sought Richardson’s advice following the legal troubles of another televangelist, Robert Tilton. It wasn’t until the end of the lengthy meeting that Roberts left Richardson with a distinct impression–one that you can judge for yourself.