- Associated Press - Sunday, October 12, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The University of Missouri’s flagship campus in Columbia and Three Rivers College in Poplar Bluff will share more than $1.5 million through an agreement in a mismanaged trust case.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced Friday that the agreement settled a case involving the estate of James Adams. The Piedmont man left more than 750 acres of farm land and a $700,000 maintenance fund in a trust following his death in 2012. Koster said in a news release that the trustees had a fiduciary duty to preserve the trust’s value for charity.

But the agreement said the trustees didn’t harvest hundreds of acres of hay at the farm, failed to use more than $100,000 in purchased farm equipment and neglected to retain a bookkeeper to manage the farm’s finances. They also failed to file tax returns for the trust and commingled personal and trust funds. The trust’s largest expenses were for attorney’s fees resulting from court battles among the trustees, the release said.

The trust assets were liquidated Sept. 6 during an auction in Piedmont. Seventy-five percent of the proceeds were awarded to the two schools, with the remainder retained by some of Adams’ relatives as compensation for relinquishing their rights.

The Three Rivers Endowment Trust will receive $772,242 for the Three Rivers Activity Center project located on Three Rivers College’s campus in Poplar Bluff. The University of Missouri will receive $772,243 for its College of Human Environmental Sciences at its Columbia campus.

“James Adams generously intended that his farm - the legacy of his life’s work - would eventually serve a charitable purpose,” Koster said in a written statement. “This agreement will benefit thousands of Missourians seeking educational enrichment at these institutions, fulfilling Mr. Adams’ wishes.”

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