STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) – Oklahoma State’s unique fundraiser was expected to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars to fund school sports, based on the idea of purchasing $10 million life insurance policies on about two dozen boosters with the university as a beneficiary.
Instead, the so-called “Gift of a Lifetime” program, created on the advice of top booster T. Boone Pickens, has ended with Oklahoma State having spent $33 million with nothing to show for it.
A federal judge has ruled against Oklahoma State’s bid to get back the money it spent on premiums as part of the fundraising idea launched in 2007 with 27 boosters agreeing to have life insurance policies taken out that would pay the school when they died. Judge Jorge A. Solis in Dallas ruled Friday that Lincoln National Life Insurance Co. should keep the premiums it received from Oklahoma State as the first two yearly payments for the policies.
“We are surprised and disappointed with the judge’s ruling,” Oklahoma State spokesman Gary Shutt said Monday. “We are reviewing the opinion and assessing our options, including a possible appeal.”
The university still has a state lawsuit pending in Payne County.
Oklahoma State claimed in court filings that it was told it could make as much as $350 million through the program. Instead, OSU nixed the program about three years ago and then sued to try and regain premiums it had already paid.
The university argued that it had a right to cancel the policies and get its money back because Oklahoma law provides for a 10-day review window after policies are purchased and Lincoln did not provide actual copies of the policies until 2009.