As St. Gregory's University (SGU) heads to federal bankruptcy court in Oklahoma City Tuesday, Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN) has filed litigation against them for defaulting on an agreement to maintain its accreditation and fulfill 60 full scholarships in trade for $5 million CPN doled out to the struggling institution.

As St. Gregory's University (SGU) heads to federal bankruptcy court in Oklahoma City Tuesday, Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN) has filed litigation against them for defaulting on an agreement to maintain its accreditation and fulfill 60 full scholarships in trade for $5 million CPN doled out to the struggling institution.

CPN Chairman John “Rocky” Barrett filed a notice of default mid-November after the school announced it would close.

Mid-July 2015, an agreement was struck between CPN, SGU and Benedictine Fathers of Sacred Heart Mission, Inc. (the Abbey). In it, CPN paid SGU $5 million to use for “ongoing operational needs, fund strategic plan development, fundraising activities and recapitalization efforts,” according to the District Court filing. Another condition was that SGU must pay off a Note executed by SGU as debtor to First National Bank & Trust Company (FNB), as well as pay CPN's and FNB's costs and fees of the transaction.

As repayment for CPN's funding, SGU agreed to provide 60, four-year, full scholarships over a six-year period, beginning with the 2015 Fall semester.

In the event of default, according to the District Court filing, would be “the transfer of SGU and all of its assets, including the buildings, improvements and the Abbey land upon which it sits,” as well as other acquired assets like parking lots, sidewalks, fixtures, etc. Everything, including a lengthy list of personal property such as supplies, equipment, inventories, data and software were to be given over to CPN within 60 days.

Signatures on the agreement belonged to CPN's Chairman Barrett; Abbot Lawrence Stasyszen, SGU Chancellor and representative of the Abbey; and then-President D. Gregory Main.

Scholarships

Split into annual increments — 240 total, the agreed-upon scholarships were to be used to further the education of CPN students.

CPN Director of Public Information Jennifer Bell said 122 students managed to participate in the program in that two years before the university shut down.

Some CPN students graduated, she said.

“Some had credit from SGU or other universities before this particular scholarship program,” she said. “In total, 39 students received a degree — including Associate, Bachelor, MBA and MA degrees.”

She said CPN provides $2,000 full-time scholarships and $750 part-time scholarships up to three times per year — fall, spring and summer. Students pursuing an associate’s degree or beyond at any accredited institution are eligible. Students pursuing a vocational or technical degree also can receive funding help through the CPN Workforce and Social Services department, she said.

Unfortunately, to stay on course toward that degree, many of these students had to scramble to other institutions after SGU swiftly closed its doors.

“To support CPN students during the transition, the CPN Department of Education met with each SGU student to identify transfer options, discuss additional scholarship opportunities, and provide information about self-care services,” Bell said. “The goal was to make their transition as painless as possible by providing guidance and support.”

Not included

Seemingly the only two entities not to be included in the agreement, though they sit on the same property — and in both cases are physically attached to SGU property, are St. Gregory's Abbey and the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of of Art; they are independent from the university and are still in operation.

Watch for updates.