ALBANY, Ga. — Albany State University has refunded the money donated by famed singer and Albany native Ray Charles after the Charles Foundation went to the Georgia Attorney General's Office for assistance in reclaiming the funds, officials say.
The foundation gave ASU two checks in 2001 and 2002 totaling $3 million to help build a fine arts building. It's unclear how much money was refunded.
"The return of funds donated by the late Ray Charles brings to a close negotiations with the Ray Charles Foundation," said Albany State President Everette J. Freeman. "We thank Chancellor Hank Huckaby, the University System of Georgia, the Board of Regents and the Attorney General's office for assisting us in resolving this issue. A new fine arts building remains one of the university's greatest needs which we hope will be completed as soon as possible. ASU will continue with plans to build the educational facility and remains focused on increasing student scholarships and development."
In February 2012, the school said that $2 million went to fund 125 Ray Charles Presidential Scholarships while $1 million was still in the bank.
"The funds were granted solely to help build a performing arts center, The Ray Charles Fine Arts Building, housing a theater to be named in honor of the singer's mother, Retha Robinson," Foundation spokesperson David Brokaw said. "Since no effort was made to build the facility and years of promises produced no outcome, the Foundation contacted Georgia Attorney General Samuel Owens (sic) to seek his office's assistance. Graciously, Attorney General Owens (sic) agreed to listen to their grievance."