KNKX wins lawsuit against former owner over bequests

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KNKX in Tacoma, Wash., has won a legal challenge against its former owner over money left to the public radio station in listeners’ wills.

Friends of 88.5 FM, the nonprofit that operates KNKX, will receive three bequests made to the station when it was owned by Pacific Lutheran University, according to The News Tribune.

The bequests are $8,000, $12,000 and more than $100,000. KNKX will also receive any other bequests made to KPLU.

KNKX filed the lawsuit in December in King County Superior Court. A commissioner ruled Jan. 18 that the money belongs to the station.

Friends of 88.5 FM purchased KPLU from Pacific Lutheran University in August 2016 after a successful fundraiser to buy its independence. The university had planned to sell the station to the University of Washington, which owns KUOW in Seattle, but allowed the friends group the opportunity to buy the station after listener backlash.

The university argued that it deserved the money bequeathed to KPLU because the donors died before the station sale was finalized, according to The News Tribune. PLU said it should be able to use the money to offset the costs of running the station before it was sold. The university plans to ask the court to review the decision.

In the lawsuit, the friends group argued that “it was the station, not the university’s general fund, that the decedents bequests are intended to support,” according to the paper.

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