An Oklahoma hospital in country singer Garth Brooks‘ hometown must return his $500,000 donation because it failed to build a women’s center in honor of his late mother, jurors ruled Tuesday.
Jurors sided with the country star in the breach-of-contract lawsuit he filed against IntegrisCanadian Valley Regional Hospital in Yukon. Brooks said he thought he’d reached a deal in 2005 with the hospital’s president, James Moore, but sued after learning the hospital wanted to use the money for other construction projects.
The hospital had argued that Brooks gave it unrestricted access to the money and only later asked that the hospital build a women’s center and name it after his mother, Colleen Brooks, who died of cancer in 1999.
The jury included several of the singer’s fans, but all said they could judge the case fairly.
During the trial, Brooks said he thought he had a solid agreement with Moore, whom he said initially suggested putting his mother’s name on an intensive care unit. When Brooks said that wouldn’t fit his mother’s image, Moore suggested a women’s center, the singer testified.
“I jumped all over it,” Brooks told jurors in tearful testimony. “It’s my mom. My mom was pregnant as a teenager. She had a rough start. She wanted to help every kid out there.”
Brooks said he gave the gift anonymously, as he does with all charitable donations.
During cross-examination, an Integris lawyer highlighted statements that Brooks made in a deposition after he sued. Brooks said couldn’t say whether the women’s center was promised, or whether his mother’s name would be attached to an existing center.
“I don’t remember,” Brooks said in the deposition.