PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Motion for Summary Judgment Denied In Donor’s Lawsuit Over Beta Theta Pi House

by Geoff Rushton

A Centre County judge has denied Donald Abbey’s motion for a summary judgment in his lawsuit against the Alpha Upsilon Chapter of Beta Theta Pi over what he says was a multi-million dollar loan for improvements to the fraternity house.

Judge Katie Oliver wrote that “very little discovery has been undertaken” in the case and that the motion was premature.

Abbey filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the fraternity chapter’s alumni house corporation after the chapter’s recognition was revoked by Penn State following the death of pledge Timothy Piazza, a 19-year-old sophomore who died after falls at an alcohol-fueled bid acceptance event at the fraternity house in February.

A 1970 Penn State graduate and alumnus of the Beta chapter, Abbey says he’s owed $8.5 million over more than a decade for repairs, renovations and operations for the house at 220 N. Burrowes St.

An agreement states that if the chapter violated Beta Theta Pi’s “Men of Principle” initiative or ceased “to be a chapter of the general fraternity and the [property] is utilized for a purpose other than Alpha Upsilon of Beta Theta Pi unless agreed to by Abbey,” the fraternity would have to repay the money, according to court filings.

After Penn State permanently revoked recognition, the national Beta Theta Pi disbanded the chapter and former members were evicted from the house in March. It had been unused since then, until the beginning of September when the alumni corporation opened it up for alumni to stay in during home football weekends.

Attorneys for the Alpha Upsilon Chapter, however, say that Abbey made an initial $500,000 gift for renovations to the house and then took control of the project, acting unilaterally to spend millions without approval from the board.

They claim Abbey exerted undue influence on the board and the agreement was signed by the board president after Abbey had spent the money and without approval by the full board. The chapter says it has little accounting for the money spent by Abbey and that he is trying to convert an irrevocable gift into a conditional gift.

That agreement stipulates that if the chapter was unable to repay, a lien would be placed on the house. Because the chapter’s only significant asset is the house, Alpha Upsilon attorneys said the lawsuit is “in essence for ownership and control of the house.”

In her denial of Abbey’s motion, Oliver said has not met the plaintiff’s burden for a summary judgment and that “the factual record remains undeveloped.”

“The existing record reveals multiple genuine issues of material fact that preclude summary judgment, including factual issues potentially relevant to whether a valid and enforceable contract exists, and, if so, whether that contract has been breached and the amount of any resulting damages,” Oliver wrote.

About the Author

Posts from our partner website


More by

Herwig’s Austrian Bistro Sets Closing Date

Owner Bernd Brandstatter announced in March that restaurant would be closing between June and August, but the final day of business has been moved up.

Former Penn State Football Player Denies Burglary, Assault Accusations

Spats Cafe Collaboration With Allen Street Grill Set For Grand Opening


Penn State Women’s Soccer Beats Duquesne 6-0

Emily Ogle, Frankie Tagliaferri, Kerry Abello, Rachel Wasserman, and Kim Dubs scored for the Nittany Lions in Sunday’s lopsided victory.

Shea Moyer Lifts Penn State Women’s Soccer Past West Virginia 1-0

Penn State Women’s Soccer Poised For Strong 2018 Season

Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Student Life

Lisa Salters To Serve As 2018 Homecoming Grand Marshal

The Grand Marshal will be present at many of Homecoming’s events throughout the week and will be featured in the parade Friday night.

Student Body President Cody Heaton Welcomes Class of 2022 At Convocation

Start The Semester Off Right With These Welcome Week Activities

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

Penn State Officially Welcomes Class Of 2022 At Convocation

The Class of 2022 joined the Penn State family Saturday evening at Convocation.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Assessing Penn State’s Front Seven Following Tuesday’s Medical Retirements

Penn State’s defensive line rotation will be shaken up following Ryan Buchholz’s medical retirement from football, while the coaching staff is letting the linebackers duel it out during camp.

Send this to a friend