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UW-Oshkosh, foundation reach $4.6 million settlement

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and its private foundation have reached a multimillion-dollar settlement as part of a bankruptcy case related to five building projects.

The Post-Crescent reports the parties announced the $4.6 million net sum agreement late on Friday. A federal district judge previously allowed the UWO Foundation and UW System to enter into mediation.

According to a joint statement, the parties agreed “to confirm ownership of the Alumni Welcome and Conference Center,” though it was not clear which side would own the center.

In August, a federal bankruptcy judge ruled the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh must pay $15 million to cover the school’s private foundation’s debts arising from a financial scandal involving five building projects.

Judge Susan Kelley found that letters from two former UW-Oshkosh administrators, who promised to use university money to bail out the foundation, constitute enforceable contracts and therefore had to be honored.

The UWO Foundation filed for bankruptcy in 2017, leaving state taxpayers on the hook for the building-project loans.

Former Chancellor Richard Wells and former Vice Chancellor Thomas Sonnleitner pleaded not guilty in June to criminal charges of misconduct in office. They’re accused of illegally promising banks that the university would guarantee any debt that foundation couldn’t cover.

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