Penn State

Yes, Beta Theta Pi is renting its house. But that’s not illegal, frat says.

Beta Theta Pi’s Alpha Upsilon chapter housing corporation and alumnus Donald Abbey will meet in Centre County Court Friday over Abbey’s request for an injunction that would stop the housing corporation from renting out its rooms to alumni members to raise money for its legal bills.
Beta Theta Pi’s Alpha Upsilon chapter housing corporation and alumnus Donald Abbey will meet in Centre County Court Friday over Abbey’s request for an injunction that would stop the housing corporation from renting out its rooms to alumni members to raise money for its legal bills. Centre Daily Times, file

Beta Theta Pi’s Alpha Upsilon chapter housing corporation has answered questions about its current activities.

The alumni organization of the fraternity chapter Penn State banned in March after the February death of pledge Timothy Piazza is being sued by one of its brothers, Donald Abbey.

Abbey says he provided $8.5 million to the chapter for renovations of the Burrowes Road property and a “house fund,” and that gift came with a contract stipulating that it had to be repaid if the fraternity lost its recognition.

The housing corporation is fighting that in court.

On Friday, the two sides will have oral arguments in Centre County Court over Abbey’s request for an injunction that would stop the housing corporation from renting out its rooms to alumni members to raise money for its legal bills.

The documents the Beta lawyers filed on Oct. 20 were in response to Abbey’s motion.

“It is admitted that (the housing corporation) is making guest rooms and meals available to alumni members and their guests in exchange for a voluntary donation,” wrote Michael Leahey and Daniel Michelmore.

They denied Abbey’s claims that the use was against the law and damaged the value of the property. They also denied that alcohol was being sold as part of the package.

According to The Associated Press, emails sent to members offering the service included “photos of the food setup and menus for brunch and late-night dining, with one of the brothers hosting ‘Friday nights in the party room.’ ” Prices for the package were noted as starting at $50 for a bed and locker and going up to $350 for three-bed accommodations.

The fraternity was cited by State College borough for zoning violations over changes in the use of the property.

Judge Katherine Oliver previously denied Abbey’s motion for summary judgment in the case, calling it premature.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce

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