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$11K Espresso Machine Listed as Part of Former SBC Seminary President’s ‘Pattern of Spending’ That Led to Resignation

Adam Greenway
Adam W. Greenway, former president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, speaks during the 2022 SBC Pastors’ Conference during the last session of the meeting June 13 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Photo by Karen McCutcheon (courtesy of Baptist Press)

A report released by the board of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) has revealed that former president Adam Greenway “engaged in a pattern of spending that…did not reflect proper stewardship of seminary resources.”

Greenway stepped down as president of the Southern Baptist seminary amid decreased enrollment and other financial struggles in September 2022, having served for 3 1/2 years as successor to Paige Patterson, who was fired for his alleged mishandling of sexual abuse allegations.

While Greenway initially announced he would be accepting a new role at the SBC’s International Mission Board following his resignation, that did not come to pass, as Greenway said that he was not “able to find the Lord’s peace to move forward in that direction.”

After the SWBTS board of trustees publicly alleged that Greenway’s departure was owing to fiduciary irresponsibility, Greenway began to petition that the board’s findings be made public.

“I look forward to the seminary fulfilling its promise of transparency to Southern Baptists by releasing the full trustee investigative report including all related findings, without edit or redaction,” Greenway said in a statement on April 20. “I trust that all Southern Baptists will then be able to judge for themselves the veracity of the summary narrative presented in the seminary’s press release.”

In a “Summary of Findings” released on Wednesday (June 7), the trustees disclosed the results of an investigation conducted by a task force appointed to audit Greenway’s financial dealings while president of the seminary. 

“The findings of this review, based on extensive research by the task force, along with recommendations for preventing such issues in the future, were presented to trustees at their Spring 2023 meeting,” the report said. “Matters covered by the task force included suggested strengthened financial guardrails, evaluation of possible sale of portions of the campus, and spending habits of the former President.”

Included as an example of Greenway’s pattern of spending between 2019 and 2021 was $1.5 million spent on renovations, furnishings, and other expenses to the President’s Home. This included $59,865.79 for Christmas decorations, more than $25,000 for artwork, and $11,123.49 on an espresso machine and accessories. 

$180,000 of HVAC work was also completed in 2021, work which the board characterized as “optional.” 

The report noted that these expenditures came at a time when the seminary was struggling financially, cutting budgets, and laying off faculty.

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The task force also found that the facilities team at SWBTS was tasked with much of the work on the President’s Home, “creating an unsustainable demand, and contributing to poor morale and high turnover.”