Hofheinz family files lawsuit to keep Hofheinz Pavilion name on UH arena

Attorney says university recently offered naming rights to anonymous donor


HOUSTON – Hofheinz Pavilion has been a staple on the University of Houston campus for nearly 50 years. A lawsuit filed Wednesday by the family of the late Judge Roy Hofheinz seeks to keep the name of the athletic field house intact.

In press release, the family said UH recently offered naming rights of the arena to an anonymous donor. The family claims that Hofheinz and the university had a contractual commitment and is asking the university to honor that commitment.

"One of our most important values, sometimes lost these days, is that person's word is that person's bond," family attorney John Raley said in a statement. "Does the university's honor have a price tag?"

Hofheinz's charitable foundation paid UH $1.5 million - about $8 million in today's dollars - for the naming of the pavilion in 1969.

"There was only one condition on the donation: For once, something in Houston that he helped build would bear his name. The university agreed, took his money, spent it and now wants to break their agreement. That is illegal and, as any fair-minded Texan can see, simply wrong," Raley said.

The family said UH did not propose a name change during previous renovations of the pavilion.

The University of Houston released a statement to KPRC 2 that read: 

"The University of Houston appreciates and celebrates the generosity of all its donors and complies with the donors’ intent and restrictions set forth in gift agreements. The petition in intervention filed today by several foundations claiming to be successors to the donor was in response to the University’s filing of a standard petition to dissolve the trust as we have fulfilled its terms. The University is grateful for the Hofheinz family’s contributions on behalf of the University, however, in this matter disagrees with its position regarding the duration of the naming rights as well as many of the facts they have alleged. The University has been in discussions with the Hofheinz family and, though it disagrees with the family’s position, has sought an amicable resolution."