Newsweek raid reportedly linked to SF’s Olivet University

SF Gate, California/January 19, 2018

By Sophie Haigney

Investigators on Thursday raided Newsweek’s offices in New York as part of a probe into the magazine’s connection to California-based Olivet University, according to the New York Post.

An anonymous source told the Post that the investigation was “believed to be” connected to Olivet University, which was started in 2000 by pastor David Jang, leader of a Christian sect that calls itself “the Community.” The evangelical Christian school, which counts four campuses across the country and offices on Howard Street in San Francisco, has close ties to Newsweek’s parent company.

The Post reported that roughly two dozen investigators from the Manhattan district attorney’s office arrived at Newsweek’s offices early Thursday morning before leaving with several of the magazine’s computer servers.

Olivet’s San Francisco campus, located at 1025 Howard St., was mostly deserted Friday morning. Blinds were drawn in many of the windows, though the front door was propped open and lights were on near the front desk. A stack of newspapers sat untouched, and a bulletin board was empty of flyers.

A woman who answered the door said that an Olivet official inside was unwilling to be interviewed about the university and shut the door.

A grand jury investigation of Newsweek Media Group, formerly known as International Business Times Media, has been ongoing for at least 17 months, “a source familiar with the matter” told Newsweek in the publication’s own story about the raid of its offices.

In 2014, Mother Jones reported extensively on the convoluted relationship among International Business Times Media, Olivet, Jang and, by extension, the newly acquired Newsweek.

“Although IBT carefully avoided public association with the Community, behind the scenes the connections were clear,” reporter Ben Dooley wrote in the Mother Jones report.

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