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University sues estate of Kamloops philanthropist for nearly $1.3M

A pledged donation toward the rotunda at TRU's House of Learning is before the courts.
February 09, 2016 - 6:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - Thompson Rivers University administrators claim a $1.5-million pledge by a Kamloops philanthropist was prematurely cut off and is now suing his estate.

University administrators have filed a civil suit against the now-deceased man’s family for the remaining amount.

In a statement of facts filed August 2014 in B.C. Supreme Court by the university and the Thompson Rivers University Foundation, administrators allege Irving K. Barber pledged to donate $1.5 million to the rotunda at the university’s House of Learning Centre in June 2010. Because of the considerable amount, the university named the centre The Irving K. Barber British Columbia Centre.

The university claims Barber made an initial $100,000 donation before making additional contributions towards the total pledged amount.

The claim states that prior to pledging the donation, Barber created a financial trust for himself, his wife and their family. To honour the pledge to the university, the claim states Barber distributed funds to himself as a beneficiary of the trust and then paid the pledge personally.

However, once Barber passed, the university claims it was notified by one of Barber’s beneficiaries that the trust was settled and no longer able to make payments on the pledge.

The university's claim seeks $1,275,000 plus interest from the date of the breach of the pledge to the date of trial.

“The terms of the pledge were clear and all conditions were specified. The plaintiffs gave consideration in exchange for the pledge and have suffered detriment, damages and loss in taking action in reliance on the pledge,” the claim states.

A counter claim, filed December 2015 by Barber’s trustees, states when the spousal trust was created in 2003, Barber had no creditors and was not considering philanthropic donations. Following his death, Barber’s wife became the trustee and beneficiary of the trust.

The response claim states no grant or probate was sought for Barber’s estate and says the estate ‘had no assets of significance at the date of (his) death'.

“The estate is unable to fulfill any further obligations under the pledge,” the claim says. “The obligations created pursuant to the pledge were personal obligations of Mr. Barber and, on his death, became an obligation of the estate. The estate is without funds or assets to pay that obligation."

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Glynn Brothen at or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

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