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Judge Dismisses CoastKeepers Lawsuit Against OWC

10/12/2004

Judge Robert Barron has dismissed a lawsuit suit brought by the Pensacola Gulf Coastkeepers against the Okaloosa-Walton College Foundation and OWC college president Dr. Bob Richburg.

In his dismissal, Barron ruled that the organization lacked the legal standing to continue its suit because it could not show any direct injury in connection with the case and because there was no basis to allow the group to continue to pursue its allegations of RICO violations. The dismissal, with prejudice, means the group is not entitled to amend its complaint or use the same arguments again.

"Personally and on behalf of the college, I am so pleased with the judge's ruling today, "said Dr. Bob Richburg, OWC President. "It shows that the irresponsible allegations made by this group have no basis to move forward and that the group has no validity to bring such an action."

The suit sought to prohibit the Okaloosa-Walton College Foundation from selling bayfront property bequeathed to the college by Mrs. Mattie Kelly of Destin. Proceeds from the sale will be placed in a permanent endowment fund through the OWC Foundation to support the college's Mattie Kelly Cultural and Environmental Institute.

"Mattie Kelly's bequest called for OWC to establish a cultural and environmental institute in her name to promote the arts and study of the bay," said Richburg. "The college established the Mattie Kelly Cultural and Environmental Institute in 1997 and through the sale of a portion of the property she bequeathed to the college - we can carry on her vision. It is the Institute in her name and its work for the cultural life and environmental health of this region that was Mrs. Kelly's dream." Under the terms of the proposed sale, the OWC Foundation will continue to own and maintain the grounds surrounding Mattie Kelly's mausoleum which is located on the property.

Interest earnings from the Mattie Kelly Cultural and Environmental Institute Endowment will underwrite the cultural and environmental work highlighted in Mrs. Kelly's gift to the college including: