Brooks’ lawyers: Hospital notes back naming plan

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CLAREMORE, OKLA. (AP) - Lawyers for country singer Garth Brooks say a hospital’s internal documents back his claim that a $500,000 donation was intended for a women’s center to be named after his late mother.

The center was never built, and Brooks wants the Integris (in-TEHG-rihs) Canadian Valley Regional Hospital to refund his money. The hospital says Brooks gave the money without conditions.

As testimony began in an Oklahoma courtroom Wednesday, Brooks‘ lawyers unveiled hospital notes on its pursuit of Brooks‘ money. One note said the hospital president wrote to Brooks‘ father, offering to name a women’s center after Colleen Brooks if Garth Brooks would attend a hospital function. The hospital president said Wednesday he wrote no such letter.

The singer never appeared at the hospital event, but gave the hospital a half-million dollars.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

Lawyers for Garth Brooks and an Oklahoma hospital clashed Wednesday over whether the facility promised to name a women’s center in honor of the country star’s late mother after he made a $500,000 donation.

Brooks wants the Integris Canadian Valley Regional Hospital in his hometown of Yukon to return the money, claiming in a lawsuit that hospital administrators reneged on their pledge to name a part of a medical complex after Colleen Brooks. Jurors began hearing arguments in the case Wednesday.

“Some might ask `Why didn’t you give the money back?’ hospital lawyer Terry Thomas said. “Because it was sent anonymously.”

According to Thomas, Brooks and hospital president James Moore never reached a naming rights agreement and that, after the $500,000 gift arrived, Brooks telephoned Moore to say it was from him and to add conditions for its use.

“I know you don’t have to, but I hope you’ll name something for my mother,” Brooks said, according to Thomas.

Thomas told the lawyers that the hospital agreed to nothing, and even sent Brooks a receipt telling him he had received nothing of value for his contribution.

But the singer’s lawyer, Lisa Riggs, told jurors the hospital had lured Brooks. She said the hospital deliberately and falsely claimed it would build a women’s center and display Colleen Brooks‘ name “like the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles.”

“This is not what Garth Brooks had bargained for,” Riggs said. “Over six years after the donation, nothing is named after Colleen Brooks.

“It was a simple deal: $500,000 and mom’s name is on the women’s center,” Riggs told jurors. “In (Brooks‘) words, it was an easy deal to get done.”

Moore, the trial’s first witness, said construction of a women’s center has not started. Under questioning by the singer’s lawyers, he said a women’s center would be more appealing to Brooks than having his mother’s name on an intensive care unit.

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