Country singer Garth Brooks is suing to get back a $500,000 donation he made in 2005 to the Integris Canadian Valley Regional Hospital in his hometown of Yukon, Oklahoma. Brooks claims the hospital showed him mock ups of buildings bearing his late mother’s name and told him the money would be used for such a project. In the two years following Brooks’ generous donation, hospital officials discussed possible ways his mother’s name would be used, including a new women’s center or even renaming the hospital — which they said would cost anywhere from $250,000 to $15 million. However, in 2008, the hospital informed Brooks they were not planning to use his mother’s name after all. When he asked for his money back, they refused to return it, saying the donation was an “unconditional” gift.
Hospital spokesman Hardy Watkins said Brooks “was not satisfied with the options we were offering,” adding, “We certainly wish it did not have to come to this.” Brooks’ spokeswoman said her client was “stunned and hurt” by the company’s refusal to name any part of the hospital after his mother. Many of the people going through jury selection on Tuesday admitted they were fans of Brooks and his wife, country singer Trisha Yearwood, who accompanied him to court. The hospital’s lawyer asked potential jurors to ignore the fact that Brooks is a celebrity and although many admitted they were fans, none were removed from consideration. The trial began Wednesday and will continue through the week.