1/7/2015 update: Josephine Woolington has more in the RG on the Eugene School Board’s decision to hire HLGR to help them hide these public records:
Said school board Chairman Jim Torrey on Wednesday: “In this case, we believe our decision to bring legal action was in the best interest of the school district and the students within it.” Torrey declined to comment further on the lawsuit.
The board voted unanimously after a closed-door session on Dec. 17 to sue the newspaper. The district hired Eugene law firm Harrang Long Gary Rudnick to handle the case and the original records request, which was submitted in April.
The school district has so far paid $11,956 since late April to the law firm for legal services in connection with the records request, a district official said.
1/2/2015: Frohnmayer and Geller’s Harrang et al. law firm takes on RG over DA’s public records order
Christian Wihtol has the story in the Register Guard, here. In a nutshell, Lane County DA Alex Gardner has ordered Eugene’s 4J School District to turn records related to the job performance of Superintendent Sheldon Berman over to the Register Guard. The school district doesn’t want to, so they’re paying Dave’s HLGR to fight the order in court. Interestingly HLGR’s case is against the RG, not against the DA. I’m not sure that makes sense, but it’s the law.
As it happens, former UO General Counsel and noted public records obstructionist Randy Geller now works for HLGR, while his wife, Jennifer Geller, serves on the school board. (She now works for the UO Law School). Presumably she recused herself from the decision to fight the DA’s order, and hire HLGR to do it.
We’ll have to wait until the Eugene School District releases HLGR’s invoices to see how much time (if any) Geller and former UO President and HLGR sabbaticalee Dave Frohnmayer are hitting up the taxpayers on this one, but given that Frohnayer helped write Oregon’s public records law as a first term state legislator (elected on a post-Watergate reform platform), there’s no doubt his expertise on how to subvert it should involve a significant emolument. Dave may now have blown past his previous billable hours trifecta:
1) Defending big tobacco against the state of Oregon in federal court, here.
2) Lobbying the Oregon legislature to let BP keep unclaimed class action damages, instead of using them to fund and expansion of legal aid for the poor, here. (Apparently he and Bill Gary did this w/o filing the required lobbying disclosure with the State in advance.)
3) Helping Mike “The University” Gottfredson bargain against the UO faculty, here.
HLGR has created a great cottage industry for themselves in terms of fighting for educational administrators against the taxpayers, news media, and educators of this state.