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August 31, 2017

BISMARCK, ND - Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem announced that the dissolution of Dickinson State University Foundation has reached a final resolution. On August 30, 2017, Stark County District Court Judge Herauf issued an Order adopting the Findings of the Special Master. Judge Herauf’s Order provided final approval of a settlement reached between the Attorney General and the Foundation’s major creditors and recognized that it was entered into in an effort to manage the risks associated with lengthy litigation over the priority of claims in the dissolution proceedings. In the settlement, Stenehjem also successfully challenged millions of dollars in other claims that had not been settled, preserving additional assets for the newly established Dickinson State University Heritage Foundation.

The Court’s Order approved the Special Master’s decision on all claims against the Foundation, allowing the matter to move forward to the distribution of assets and final closure of the issues surrounding the Foundation.   

“A resolution of the claims and a distribution of the assets now, instead of two years later after all court appeals have been exhausted, will greatly kick start the new foundation and help restore confidence of potential donors in the future,” Stenehjem said.

The Dickinson State University Heritage Foundation will receive millions of dollars in assets from the distribution of the dissolved Dickinson State University Foundation, and will be able to use those assets for the purposes for which they were given, namely to benefit Dickinson State University and its students and faculty. “I agree with Judge Herauf’s statement that this has been a very emotional case for donors, and I am pleased that this matter finally will be closed, allowing Dickinson State University, the new Dickinson State University Heritage Foundation and the community of Dickinson to move forward,” said Stenehjem.

Stenehjem noted that since his office brought this action to dissolve the Dickinson State University Foundation, he promoted and the Legislature enacted new legislation to ensure better protection and priority for donations in dissolution proceedings. “Going forward we have taken steps to ensure this situation does not occur in the future,” Stenehjem said. “My office has been in contact with the new Dickinson State University Heritage Foundation and donors should understand that there is now authority for greater oversight over the Foundation to ensure that donor funds are used exclusively for the purposes for which they were given,” he continued.

Stenehjem hopes the conclusion of this case will give the Dickinson community a fresh start and allow the new Foundation to focus on building support for the University and its students and faculty.

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Media Contact: Liz Brocker (701) 328-2213

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