Tearin’ It Up (And Burnin’ It Down): Garth Brooks Wins Lawsuit To Force Return of $500,000 Gift

Country singer Garth Brooks has prevailed in his lawsuit to force the IntegrisCanadian Valley Regional Hospital in Yukon, Oklahoma to return half a million dollars from a prior gift. The case will likely be examined closely by universities and hospitals as a cautionary tale on the handling of donor money. What is clear is that, after taking one of its largest donors to court, the IntegrisCanadian Valley Regional Hospital can expect a rather chilly response from future donors. Here is the get part: the jury decided that he was a Victim of the Game and made the damages a cool $1 million dollars with punitive damages. Now that was a smart legal strategy for the hospital.

Garth argued that he had a handshake agreement to name a women’s center in honor of his late mother. When given The Cold Shoulder and told that no wing would have his mother’s name, Garth basically said “Do What You Gotta Do” but that he “Ain’t Goin’ Down.”

The oral agreement made for a difficult breach-of-contract lawsuit, but Garth said that I’d Rather Have Nothing than have his money dispersed among different projects. Fortunately, the jury agreed with Brooks and rejected the testimony of the hospital’s president, James Moore, that no such understanding was reached. Instead, the hospital wants to just spend the money on various construction projects. It was a remarkably ill-conceived position for the hospital that poisoned the water for future donors. The man gave you half a million dollars for God’s sake — fulfill his wishes. Instead, the hospital spent a load of money on lawyers and told future donors that they better bring their own counsel when trying to give away money to the hospital.

Of course, the hospital could say that it named a wing after the mother of “Chris Gaines.”

16 thoughts on “Tearin’ It Up (And Burnin’ It Down): Garth Brooks Wins Lawsuit To Force Return of $500,000 Gift”

  1. “My question is: Where did they ever find that dumb name for the hospital? No okie wants to go to some Canadian hospital and the first part makes it sound like it is integrated.”

    The hospital is located in Yukon which is in Canadian county in Oklahoma.

  2. It was more than just naming a building it was naming a woman’s centre. That said the hosptal would have been better giving him his money back if they had no use for a woman’s centre.

  3. Thinkof the children, yep.
    They are both businessmen, couldn’t they afford to write a contract?
    If it had been named after mamma, what happens when someone with $550,000 comes along and wants it named after their mommy? Wouldn’t they then be able to change the name. since they had already obliged Brooks (unless the handshake specified forever and a day). Would he still have standing to sue?

  4. Let’s be HONEST here? He wanted to fund a women’s health center, he was promised he was funding a women’s health center, and it was a bait and switch and he got pissed off. How about the Hospital President being “honest” here? He made a promise and reneged on it. He was unethical.

    Garth Brooks got conned into giving away money, but I don’t blame him for suing once he found out he had turned the money over to an unethical scumbag that couldn’t be trusted; I would figure lying scumsucker Moore for the type to be taking kickbacks, doing lucrative favors for friends, and paying himself six figure bonuses so he could pocket half that donation (all of which I have seen in Hospital administrators).

    I would back out too, and it is entirely possible Garth Brooks will be doing a public service by getting the lying scumbag kicked out and making him famous, hopefully he will be unemployable at any other hospital.

  5. Spoiled,

    I can easily see where you are coming from…..But then again, if there was an agreement that this was why the money was being donated….and the Director had no intentions of naming…then…I could see an action for Fraudulent Intent…Then again, maybe the Director was hedging that Garth would not sue…and risk any negative attention…..

    Do you know how many stars are duped out of the money they earn….Athletes….

    If there was a quid pro quo….then…that is why he won….

    How about when some unnamed person, promised some unnamed university, some unnamed amount of money…then pulled it back ….Never heard the inside story….but…Just saying….

    Do you think the unnamed University could sue under Detrimental Reliance theory and recover?

  6. Let’s be honest about what happened here. Garth Brooks didn’t want to “donate” money to the hospital. He wanted to buy his mother a $500,000 tombstone in the center of town. A real donor gives the money to support the mission and activities of the organization they donate to. Garth Brooks obviously doesn’t care at all about ability of the hospital to provide for the community or he wouldn’t have sued them for a return of the money, plus punitive damages. Taking $1.5 million out of the hospitals budget just because they didn’t ego stroke your mommy isn’t the action of a benevolent philanthropist, it’s the action of a spoiled brat.

  7. I don’t like corporate names, and I don’t like things being named for past CEOs or politicians, but for some reason regular people’s names do not really bother me at all. I guess because it seems more like the institution is being nice to a charitable donor, whereas corporate names seem to me like profiteering, and names of past CEOs or politicians seem like self-serving egotism or honoring somebody for just doing their job.

    His mother’s name was “Colleen Carroll”, I do not think I would be offended by the sight of a “Colleen Carroll Women’s Health Center”, and I would assume she or her survivors were charitable benefactors and the hospital was kindly acknowledging that charity.

  8. Considering the half mil punitive damages there must have been some Garth fans on the jury. If he wants to donate his money in exchange for a memorial to his mother he should check out St. Louis, we’ll name or rename anything for a chunk of change.

  9. There are no guarantees …

    Here in Cleveland an arena was built and called The Gund after the guy who paid for the naming rights but then a new guy came in and paid for upgrades and the name was changed to the Quicken Loans Arena. Normally people just call it The Q or that place where the circus performs and has all those names. (Home to the Cavaliers)

    Then there’s the Cleveland Indians home which was first called Gateway Stadium, then Jacobs Field for team owners Richard and David Jacobs, until 2008, when it was changed to Progressive Field due to the sale of naming rights to the Progressive Insurance Company. Everybody calls it The Jake.

    The Browns renamed the Cleveland Municipal Stadium to the Cleveland Browns Stadium … keeping banks and insurance companies at bay … for now.

  10. I know Garth is wealthy, but not that wealthy that he shells out a $500,000 donation without expecting some glory in return. I am amazed at the hospital’s stupidity in this and I suspect that when Garth first raise his dismay, they treated him disdainfully. Like Carol, I’m not a fan of institutions selling naming rights, however, with Hospitals and Universities this is a long standing practice and ultimately a beneficial one.

  11. Now this takes class on the part of the Hospital….A gentleman’s agreement needs not be written down…Apparently the Director is not from the South…and felt no duty to honor a handshake….rather a shake down….

  12. This Garth guy was interviewed on some radio show and made the comment: “They dont play my music in the waitin room nomore”.
    My question is: Where did they ever find that dumb name for the hospital? No okie wants to go to some Canadian hospital and the first part makes it sound like it is integrated.

  13. How hard would it have been to just name something for the woman? A nice brass nameplate, a little unveiling ceremony and all would be well.

    In Columbus corporations buy naming rights. Instead of Children’s Hospital, it’s now Nation Wide Hospital. I hate it everywhere you go you have some corp shoving their name at you. But there isn’t much that’s not for sale anymore.

  14. God, what egotistical idiots. Who cares what name is on a building? Visit Texas A&M, every building in the place is named after some donor, heck they even have rooms named after people, like the John R. Bickle conference room. (I made that name up). It’s free, because you were going to have to call it something anyway, like “Conference Room A.” If it makes people feel honored (and no discrimination is in play) I see no harm in it at all.

    This Moore guy is an incompetent moron, I hope the board fires him.

  15. That hostpital president needs to be shown the door asap. You are exactly correct that donors will not be flocking to their doors after this boondoggle. Why in the hell would you blow off a $500,000 donor? Especially a famous one like Brooks who could draw you even more gifts from other entertainers?

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