Removal of Otto Bremer Trust leader upheld by Minnesota Supreme Court

On Wednesday, February 7, the Minnesota Supreme Court found that Ramsey County District Court did not abuse its discretion when it removed Brian Lipschultz as a trustee of the Otto Bremer Trust (OBT) in 2022, stating that Lipschultz “repeatedly placed his own priorities before those of the Trust” and “used his position of power to intimidate a grantee on matters unrelated to any charitable purposes.”

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) believes the court’s decision to be an important one, affirming the principle that charitable trustees should be held to high standards of responsibility as it relates to stakeholders, charitable nonprofits, and the communities they collectively serve.

On July 24, 2023, the MCN filed an amicus brief in the matter of the removal of Lipschultz, arguing that the court should uphold the removal of a charitable trustee for several reported instances of misconduct. MCN filed this brief in service of our over 2,200 nonprofit member organizations, declaring and defending the standards of care necessary for productive work between nonprofits and funders in service of shared goals and public good.

One of the state’s largest philanthropies, OBT was created in 1944 by Otto Bremer and is based in St. Paul. The Trust awarded $105 million to more than 1,000 organization in 2023

Remaining OBT trustees Charlotte Johnson and Daniel Reardon replaced Lipschultz with Frank Miley, president of Cretin-Derham Hall High School, with the court approving his appointment in 2023.

Read the Minnesota Supreme Court’s full decision here.