The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art’s request for more than $2 million from the St. Gregory’s University mineral interest sale was denied Wednesday.

A hearing on the Shawnee museum’s claim was held in Judge Sarah Hall’s courtroom at the Western District of Oklahoma’s Bankruptcy Court. St. Gregory’s University closed and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in December 2017.

The museum claimed it was owed about $2.3 million from the sale of mineral interests. But trustee John Mashburn asked that the claim be denied because the university’s properties were turned over to the court. He was tasked with liquidating the assets to pay the school’s debts.

Since 1997, the museum had been receiving funds from the W.P. Wood Charitable Trust. The trust had transferred ownership in its mineral interest to three parties: St. Gregory’s University, Oklahoma Baptist University, and the Shawnee Regional Hospital Foundation.

Before the Wood mineral deed was finalized, the Wood Trust’s trustee sent a letter to the university stating that 30% of the university’s 45% mineral interest earnings should go to the museum.

The museum’s attorney, Cliff Gooding, addressed the court during Wednesday’s hearing. In his brief and before the court, he tried to impose a constructive trust, arguing the $2.3 million kept by the trustee was unjust enrichment.

Hall did not agree with that claim. She said there was no active wrongdoing, which is a key factor in imposing a constructive trust.

“There’s no evidence of active wrongdoing,” she said. “The case law does not point to a constructive trust.”

In her ruling, Hall said it was clear the Wood Trust knew how to convey mineral interests. If the trust wanted to give the mineral interests to the museum, then it would have listed the museum with the other entities.

“Such inaction speaks the loudest in terms of what the Wood Trust wanted,” she said.

The museum received about $100,000 a year from the mineral interests. Gooding said the museum has been operating on fumes since it hasn’t had the money.

Gooding said not getting this money will be a significant loss to the museum. The museum operates on about $500,000 annually.

“But the museum is not going out of business by any means,” he said.

He said the museum uses the money to give student tours. Museum Board of Directors member Megan Clement said students from about 88 communities visited annually.

Gooding said bankruptcy has a ripple effect. For the museum, it will have to figure out how it can still serve these students without this money.