HOUSTON (FOX 26) - The Hofheinz Pavilion is a landmark on the University of Houston campus, but it seems many students have no idea why it’s named after Judge Roy Hofheinz.
“Roy Hofheinz led a life of tremendous service to this community,” said attorney John Raley.
In 1934 he became the youngest state representative ever elected in Texas.
Two years later, he became the youngest person to be elected Harris County Judge, and in 1953 he became the city’s mayor.
He desegregated Houston in his first year in office.
“The Astrodome was basically his idea,” Raley said. “He brought major sports teams to Houston.”
Hofheinz also built Astroworld.
“And none of the things he ever built bore his name,” said Raley.
But according to court documents, that changed in 1969 after Hofheinz, a generous contributor to his alma mater, gave U of H one and a half million dollars to build what’s now known as the Hofheinz Pavilion.
“And the university agreed the building would be called the Hofheinz Pavilion and there is no end time for that agreement,” Raley said.
But the lawsuit claims U of H is now trying to back out of that agreement and change the name of the pavilion in return for a 20 million dollar donation.
“There are many reasons that what they’re attempting to do is illegal,” said Raley.
In a prepared statement U of H says,
“It’s 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 facts they have alleged."
The university says it’s been in discussions with the Hofheinz family and,” though it disagrees with the family’s position, has sought an amicable resolution.”