After a 20-day trial involving more than two dozen witnesses, including the trustees and attorneys from the attorney general’s office, the trial court rejected the allegations of breach of fiduciary duties. The AGO also sought removal of all three trustees, but the trial court rejected the removal request of two trustees, confirming their administration.
Attorneys Michael V. Ciresi, Katie Crosby Lehmann, Mathew Korte and Jan Conlin led the successful legal defense for the trust. Crosby Lehmann said the trustees had a fiduciary duty to defend and enhance the trust to honor the settlor’s wishes, even when challenged by the attorney general’s office. The verdict reaffirms that the trustees alone have decision-making authority and responsibility for all aspects of the trust and their decisions were proper, she said.
“Honoring the settlor’s intent is the paramount interest, regardless of who advances a challenge,” Crosby Lehmann said. “The trustees are stewards of Otto Bremer’s charitable purposes set forth in 1944, and since then the trust has distributed over $800 million to charities in the area.”
Crosby Lehmann said the trial team followed the firm’s usual formula of using a small team with everyone understanding all facts of the case. “We work as a cohesive team, and this allows us to be efficient, nimble, and creative when serving our clients’ interests,” she said.
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