By Nancy Varekamp | CNews Editor
Concordians may recall several loose ends, mostly legal, after Concordia University (CU) officials announced Feb. 10, 2020, that the school would close two months later.
One is future ownership of the campus properties and facilities. The March 2021 CNews carries a Page 1 story about the foreclosure now in progress against Concordia University and any actions a new owner would have to mount to modify the use of the land.
Other loose ends include lawsuits and possible state intervention.
“LCEF [Lutheran Church Extension Fund] cannot comment on how this foreclosure sale may impact any litigation, including the lawsuit filed by students against Concordia University,” reported Teresa Pearson, attorney for Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation, the trustee that filed the foreclosure.
Underdog Lawyers’ Michael Fuller filed a lawsuit last spring against CU on behalf of students whose education plans were disrupted.
He told CNews last month, “Concordia, instead of accepting our offer to resolve the matter, has decided to continue to pay their lawyers to fight the case, which is fine. And so they’ve filed an answer to our complaint, and we’re getting ready to schedule the depositions of each plaintiff and defendant Concordia University and its executives.”
He did not name the number of ex-students he represents. However, KGW reported six days after CU’s 2020 announcement about closing that more than 50 students had joined that class action suit.
Hotchalk also reportedly brought suit against CU last spring for $302 million in unpaid invoices for producing online academic programs.
The internet can no longer connect to Hotchalk.com and competitor Noodle Partner reported in November it purchased Hotchalk key assets for an undisclosed amount. Noodle Partner did not respond to a request for comment.
“LCEF’s position is that HotChalk Inc.’s claims are spurious, and we intend vigorously to defend against them,” LCEF president and CEO the Rev. Bart Day wrote in September. His online Letter from the President continued, “We will seek recovery of the indebtedness owed by [Concordia University Portland], so those dollars can be used to support new ministry opportunities.”
One issue involving CU and Hotchalk that was resolved during recent years is reported on Wikipedia.com, which attributes the information to The Oregonian:
“The university’s $160 million deal with HotChalk drew scrutiny with a federal prosecutor alleging that the agreement between HotChalk and Concordia University violated a law that prohibits incentives for recruitment and outsourcing more than half an educational program to an unaccredited party.
“The investigation was settled out-of-court for $1 million and no admissions of wrongdoing.”
Another legal entanglement may face Concordia University.
In June, the Portland Business Journal reported the Oregon Department of Justice’s interest in whether the decision to close CU was in breach of the Oregon Nonprofit Corporations Act, the Oregon Charitable Trust and Corporations Act or the Oregon Charitable Solicitations Act.
“We are continuing to monitor the dissolution process, but we don’t have additional comment at this time,” Kristina Edmunson, told CNews last month. She is communications director for Oregon attorney general Ellen Rosenblum.
Nancy Varekamp is semiretired from her career in journalism, public relations and – her favorite work engagement – writing and editing targeted newsletters.