Following disclosures first reported by WORLD that King’s College President Dinesh D’Souza was engaged to a woman named Denise Odie Joseph while still married to his wife, D’Souza found himself in hot water not only with his college but also his partners in filmmaking. On Oct. 22, investors in the documentary 2016: Obama’s America sued D’Souza in San Diego Superior Court.
The film, starring and directed by D’Souza, generated more than $32 million at the box office, making it the second-highest grossing political documentary in history (after Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11.) The suit charged D’Souza with breach of contract, claiming D’Souza used “revenues from the movie for projects unrelated to the movie.” The suit also alleged that D’Souza paid Joseph as his assistant “in order to justify spending funds on Joseph that were intended for the movie production and exploitation.” The investors also asked for a temporary restraining order against D’Souza to prevent further alleged diversion of funds. In a written 16-page response to the suit, D’Souza said the suit contained “many patently false statements.” D’Souza did not respond to a request for an interview.
Superior Court Judge Kevin Enright denied the request for a restraining order, and some media outlets incorrectly reported that the suit had been dismissed. But attorney Joseph Leventhal, who represents the Rancho Esperanza corporation formed by investors in the movie, said, “The lawsuit is still very much alive.”
Meanwhile, at The King’s College, board chairman Andy Mills assumed the position of interim president after the board accepted D’Souza’s resignation as president on Oct. 18. “After careful consultation with the board and with Dinesh, we have accepted his resignation to allow him to attend to his personal and family needs,” Mills said in a prepared statement. “We thank him for his service and significant contribution to the College over the last two years.”
When D’Souza came to The King’s College two years ago, the board of trustees hoped he would dramatically raise the profile of the school. He certainly did that: enrollment grew nearly 50 percent during the past two years, to nearly 500 students.
But D’Souza also brought controversy. Within weeks of his appointment, D’Souza’s book The Roots of Obama’s Rage made The New York Times bestseller list. The book drew criticism—and not just from liberals—for its speculative theory that anti-colonialism and a desire to “downsize America” drives Barack Obama’s political ideology. The book spawned the documentary at the center of the October lawsuit.