Hofheinz family sues to keep name on Houston Cougars' arena
HOUSTON (AP) The family of former Houston Astros owner Roy Hofheinz wants a court to require the University of Houston to keep his name on the school's basketball arena.
The university had asked the Harris County probate court in April to end the 47-year agreement on Hofheinz Pavilion. That would allow the school to negotiate a naming-rights deal as part of a $60 million renovation project set to begin next spring.
A hearing is scheduled for May 10.
Attorney John Raley, who represents the Hofheinz family, says no name changes were proposed when the arena was renovated in the past.
The Hofheinz family says the $1.5 million it paid to the university in 1969 means the name should remain. They say the agreement has a present-day value of $8 million.
''There was only one condition on the donation: For once, something in Houston that he helped build would bear his name,'' Raley said.
UH says it was ''grateful for the Hofheinz family's contributions,'' but that it disagrees with the family on the duration of the naming rights.
Hofheinz served as Houston's mayor, Harris County judge and a Texas state representative. He's also credited with creating the Houston Colt .45s, which later became the Houston Astros, and was the driving force behind the construction of the Astrodome. Hofheinz died in 1982.
The university has received a $20 million gift toward the project. That money is expected to go toward a naming-rights deal.
UH signed a 10-year, $15 million naming-rights deal with Texas Dow Employees Credit Union to name the school's new football stadium in 2014.