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Mo. AG negotiates $1.5 million settlement over mismanaged trust

By Ashley Perry | Oct 13, 2014

Chris Koster | Missouri Office of the Attorney General

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster obtained a $1.5 million settlement for the University of Missouri and Three Rivers College on Friday in a case involving the mismanaged James Adams trust.

Adams, of Piedmont, Mo., left more than 750 acres of farm land and a $700,000 maintenance trust fund to his two daughters and brother. Adams' daughters were to use the land during their lifetimes, but the farm and trust funds were to be transferred to charity upon their deaths. The trustees had a duty to preserve the value of the trust, but due to fighting between the trustees the farm's value and the trust fund were drained.

The trustees allegedly did not work the land, did not use $100,000 worth of farm equipment and neglected to retain a bookkeeper to manage the farm's finances. They also are accused of neglecting to file tax returns for the trust and used funds from the trust for personal use. Most of the funds were used on attorney's fees resulting from court battles between the trustees.

The trust's assets were liquidated in September and the state was able to obtain 75 percent of the proceeds. The Three Rivers Endowment Trust will receive $772,242 from the settlement and the University of Missouri's College of Human Environmental Sciences will receive $772,243.

"James Adams generously intended that his farm—the legacy of his life's work—would eventually serve a charitable purpose," Koster said. "This agreement will benefit thousands of Missourians seeking educational enrichment at these institutions, fulfilling Mr. Adams' wishes."

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University of Missouri - ColumbiaMissouri Office of the Attorney General