The Fort Hays State University Foundation has issued the following statement on the judgment issued Wednesday, June 1, on the lawsuit concerning the Earl O. Field estate:
When longtime donor and fan of Fort Hays State University, Earl O. Field, passed away in 2013, the FHSU Foundation was surprised to learn of the existence of a purported change to Mr. Field’s estate plan that dropped the nonprofit Fort Hays State University Foundation as Mr. Field’s primary beneficiary. This purported change was in the form of a letter, supposedly discovered after Mr. Field’s death, that gifted the largest portion of the estate to Wanda Oborny, part-time bookkeeper and caretaker for the widower Field.
The mission of the Fort Hays State University Foundation is to support and advance the university by actively seeking monetary gifts and bequests and to receive and administer those contributions in a prudent manner in accordance with donors' wishes. Consistent with that mission, the FHSU Foundation felt that, in this particular case, Earl Field’s estate plan and intentions were not as Ms. Oborny claimed. The FHSU Foundation contested the purported change to Mr. Field’s estate plan and letter sponsored by Ms. Oborny.
“On June 1, 2016, the Ellis County District Court Kansas Senior Judge adopted the Findings of Facts and Conclusions of Law proposed by the Fort Hays State University Foundation,” said Jeff Peier, Chair of the Fort Hays State University Foundation Board of Trustees. “We are pleased with the findings of the Court and believe that this ruling validates the Foundation’s ongoing efforts to protect the integrity of our donors’ wishes.”