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St Francis Upper

Before Billings Catholic Schools can sell St. Francis Upper, the church will have to contact 434 heirs to the property.

Gazette Staff

Billings Catholic Schools will meet with attorneys for a family claiming a stake in the St. Francis Upper building with the potential to reach a settlement.

District Judge Gregory Todd postponed the case and ordered the parties to hold a settlement conference before March 5.

A man named David Cunningham, who has power of attorney for his mother, Burnley Cunningham Wadsworth, is seeking a share of the deed to the former Catholic school building.

Wadsworth is the great-granddaughter-in-law of Annie Morrissey, who was the sister of Kate Fratt, according to Cunningham's court filings. A wealthy widow, Fratt donated the grounds and money for the school to the Catholic Diocese in 1916.

The donation was made on the condition that the property is used as a parochial school. Otherwise, interest in the property would be split between groups of family members and the diocese.

Billings Catholic Schools is seeking a court order giving it full ownership of the property so it can sell it.

Parties are due back in court to settle pending motions by April 20.

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General Assignment Reporter

Reporter for The Billings Gazette.