A federal judge on Friday denied an effort by Lincoln University's former foundation to dismiss a lawsuit the university filed against it in June.
LU alleges its former foundation has unlawfully used the university's likeness and retained more than $4 million in a trust fund — money LU wants back.
LU in December 2018 voided its memorandum of understanding with the then-named Lincoln University Foundation Inc. after the university said it became dissatisfied with the foundation's fundraising performance and its level of autonomy.
LU and the foundation did not agree on a new memorandum of understanding, which led to the university ceasing its administrative services on behalf of the foundation in March.
In April, the foundation announced it had changed its name to The 62nd & 65th Regiments Legacy Foundation Inc. Also that month, the university announced it would accomplish its fundraising activities directly through its Office of Institutional Advancement and Alumni Relations.
The 62nd & 65th Foundation filed a lawsuit against LU's Board of Curators in May in Cole County Circuit Court, seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to block LU and its curators from using foundation donor information and documents, and the return of more than $667,000 in funds the foundation argued the university wrongfully retained.
LU's Board of Curators filed its own lawsuit against The 62nd & 65th Foundation on June 20 in the U.S. District Court's Western District of Missouri.
According to the seven-count lawsuit by the curators, The 62nd & 65th Foundation unlawfully used the university's "name, symbols, logos and/or marks without any license, authority, or permission from the university."
Specifically, the lawsuit alleges The 62nd & 65th Foundation filed an application in March with the Missouri Secretary of State for registration of the fictitious name "Lincoln University Foundation" — an application copy was included with the lawsuit's complaint document.
The Board of Curators alleges in its lawsuit against the foundation the university sent a letter June 17 to the foundation concerning alleged misuse of LU's likeness.
That letter from LU's legal counsel to the foundation's president, Hardy Dorsey, and the foundation's attorneys stated by June 19 "the foundation must also withdraw its application with the Missouri Secretary of State to register the fictitious name 'Lincoln University Foundation.'"
The letter also included the foundation would not "represent to anyone that it is authorized by the university to receive or accept any new donations, gifts or bequests intended for the use, benefit or support of the university," and "the foundation will continue to hold all of its assets in trust for the use or benefit of the university, subject to the university's rights to the assets and any applicable agreements, laws or government regulations."
LU's Board of Curators alleges in its lawsuit the foundation has not acknowledged the requests in the letter and instead has acted in ways that have "unlawfully competed with the university in fundraising."
"The foundation's unlawful acts have damaged the university's reputation and ability to raise funds and have damaged and diluted the university's name, symbols, logos and marks," the lawsuit alleges.
Furthermore, one count of the lawsuit alleges the foundation has not delivered more than $4.3 million in a trust fund back to LU, after the Board of Curators voted in April to withdraw the entire balance of the fund for deposit in a university bank account.
As of Friday, a jury trial in the Board of Curators' federal lawsuit against The 62nd & 65th Foundation is scheduled for Nov. 2, 2020, in Jefferson City before District Judge Brian C. Wimes.
Wimes denied the foundation's motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
The News Tribune did not receive comment on Friday's ruling from the foundation or LU.
The 62nd & 65th Foundation announced Thursday it was ready to award scholarships to LU students in the spring.