UO Attorney William F. Gary, Esquire, demands more retractions over Presidential Archives investigation

4/20/2015 update: Please see the retractions posted at https://uomatters.com/2015/04/archivists-resign-coltrane-got-sharon-rudnick-to-write-report-on-presidential-archives-release.html

4/15/2015 PM update: I’ve made a public records request to UO, in an effort to obtain some hard data and get to the bottom of all this back and forth between Mr. Gary and me:

From: Bill Harbaugh <[email protected]>
Subject: PR request, Presidential Archives release documents
Date: April 15, 2015 at 11:09:39 PM PDT
To: Lisa Thornton <[email protected]> Cc: doug park <[email protected]>, Interim President Coltrane <[email protected]>, [email protected]

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for

a) all billing invoices from the HLGR and Hershner Hunter law firms to the UO, dated from 1/1/2015 to the present, and

b) any communications between UO President’s office or General Counsel employees and outside attorneys or consultants relevant to the preparation of the attached “Records Incident Report”, apparently written by HLGR attorney Sharon Rudnick, regarding the UO Presidential Archives release.

I’m ccing Interim GC Doug Park as he should be able to easily provide many of these documents. Otherwise, I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest.

4/15/2015 AM: My apparently inadequate retraction of the original post is here. Since then I’ve received two additional emails from Mr. Gary, who is representing HLGR and UO lawyers Sharon Rudnick and Randy Geller. I will send and post a response to Mr. Gary’s additional demands promptly.

April 1, 2015, full letter here:

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April 10, 2015, full letter here:

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28 Responses to UO Attorney William F. Gary, Esquire, demands more retractions over Presidential Archives investigation

  1. Ben says:

    At least he says he is very truly yours.

  2. just different says:

    Absurd, and undeniably bullying. Stating “P” and then later saying “P is false” negates all of P by definition, and he has no reason to think UO Matters was being cute because there was already a clarification about Rudnick’s version made within a few hours of posting.

    Are there really judges in Oregon who would agree that a valid retraction of a statement must involve separate retractions of each of its component clauses? Besides, wasn’t it Klinger who initially implied that Rudnick’s “outline” was based on Walkup’s report?

  3. try again says:

    “just different”, lawyer are you?

    • Anonymous says:

      No, which is why I don’t know whether judges would ludicrously require separate retractions of each clause for the hairsplitting reason that retracting the whole thing isn’t logically equivalent. What I said is tautological, hence the “by definition” part.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is not a case of bullying by Bill Gary. Bill Harbaugh is the only party in the wrong here because he posted information that was not only false, but wholly false–it had no basis in fact. A simple one-liner saying, “this is wrong, I regret it, etc.,” accompanied by a rehashing of all of the incorrect information and renewed links to other stories that are also false, doesn’t do the situation any justice.

        • Ben says:

          This is a case of one party jumping to the wrong conclusion due to a misunderstanding of IT processes, another party demanding retraction, the first party fully retracting it in light of still not fully understanding the IT process, and the second party getting livid that the retraction was generalized.

          If Gary is “in the wrong,” it is due to his childish reaction post-retraction. If Harbaugh is “in the wrong,” it is due to his unapologetic done displayed in said retraction and following.

          No one’s initial actions were in the wrong, just reactions to them.

        • just different says:

          Harbaugh did exactly what ORS 31.215 required him to do. Additional groveling to the satisfaction of the alleged defamee is not yet written into Oregon law.

  4. Old Man says:

    In an earlier posting (which I have failed to find), I accused University President Coltrane of hiding behind his GC in the matter of Sharon Rudnick’s public summary of the basic details of the release of presidential documents from the library archives. That accusation failed to recognize that Rudnick’s document may, in fact, have been unrelated to the Walkup report, an assertion that was made explicitly by President Coltrane’s in his communication to Bill. Consequently, my posting not only accused the President of being devious but also of lying. My accusations were not supported by fact at that time and have received no support since. I regret the post and sincerely apologize for it.

    • Defamation or Obsequiousness says:

      Yes, it does seem that Ms Rudnick’s write up was not based on the Walkup report. Based on the available evidence, my view is that Ms Rudnick write up was public relations BS based on no investigation at all. Thus, it really was highly inappropriate to falsely accuse her of filing reports based on an investigation about what actually happened. Bill really should stop defaming HLGR so.

      • just different says:

        I feel like one of those “someone is wrong on the internet” cartoons whenever I read about this. Here is the March 25 Oregonian article which unambiguously identifies Sharon Rudnick’s “outline” (or whatever it is we should be calling it) with the Hershner Hunter report, apparently because that’s what UO led them to believe:


        Is Laura Frazier escaping the defamation vengeance of Bill Gary because she didn’t (correctly) identify the author as Sharon Rudnick, as UO Matters did? What exactly is Gary so pissed off about? And who knew there was a “trifecta of defamation”?

        • Defamation or Obsequiousness says:

          It is truly mind boggling that an oregonian writer would think that the document was the Hunter report after the UO engaged in a process of honest communication with the press through such actions as a. publicly announcing that a Hershner Hunter was to conduct and investigation b. publicly releasing a report titled “RECORDS RELEASE” and containing “Conclusion/Findings” without a listed author. Of course, no one could reach the conclusion that UO’s failure to request a correction from the Oregonian was caused by any desire to be deceitful.

          • Ben says:

            Of course. But, one can rightly reach a conclusion that the retraction demands were unevenly distributed, and from the correspondence used (and to whom it did not get sent, it was distributed based off of personal distaste for the author more so than for the actual content.

          • just different says:

            @D or O: Indeed. The fact that the last section of the Rudnick whatever-it-is is labelled “Conclusion/Findings” should make it crystal clear that this document in no way purported to have anything whatsoever to do with any investigative report. Maybe that manure spreader would come in handy over by the HLGR offices too.

  5. Dumbing down says:

    If I understand Gary correctly, experiencing regret and expressing sincere apology is not a retraction. Gary serves notice of UOM tort liability that can be resolved with full retraction. But liability seemingly oozes from this blog:

    UOM “explained, I was given the digital Presidential Archives only after agreeing to keep confidential documents confidential.” Geller memo starts “ATTORNEY-CLIENT COMMUNICATION CONFIDENTIAL AND PRIVILEGED” Bill did not “keep confidential documents confidential” and ignored the privilege. Why do we need cases or some highfalutin legal analysis? Seems obvious.

    • uomatters says:

      You’ve been posting a lot of comments on this blog as Fed Lit and so on. Mind me asking why someone from AZ is so interested in UO?

      • Dumbing down says:

        Can’t speak for Fed Lit, been following since basketball rape case exploded on the national scene.

      • Federal Litigator says:

        I can. Noticed the federal lawsuit shortly after filing, then read about the Open-Records King of Eugene. UOM, mind me asking whether you will dialog about confidential communication under Oregon law?

  6. Sports Fan says:

    Excited for the impending public records request about how much money UO is paying Gary to represent Rudnick and Geller.

  7. The Truth says:

    Lots of negative votes on comments in this thread supporting UOM. HLGR’s junior associates and interns must be racking up some billable hours keeping tabs on this blog today.

  8. “Lots of negative votes on comments in this thread supporting UOM. HLGR’s junior associates and interns must be racking up some billable hours keeping tabs on this blog today.”

    I also noticed that. I’ve never seen this pattern before. Someone is manipulating the voting, presumably to silence dissent.

    Incidentally, in my career as an activist, I’ve made very public statements about Doug Park and other UO administrators which could be considered defamation per se. Though, I’ve never been threatened with a defamation lawsuit. Truth wins out sometimes.

    • UO Grad Student says:

      How do downvotes constitute silencing dissent?

      • “How do downvotes constitute silencing dissent?”

        Grad student in what? Clearly not a social science. You should sign your name to posts. Or, are you afraid of retribution from the University? The fact that people don’t use their real names on this site proves my point.


        • Ben says:

          Ever heard of online reputation checks by potential employers? Any grad student would be extremely stupid to use their real name when giving opinions on a message forum, on the basis of imminent potential employment, especially if intending to go into a field related to the discussion.

          While you’re at it, why don’t you also record all of your face-to-face conversations and post transcripts to the web? In an era where forums and comments serve the same purpose as face-to-face conversations, it is unfair and unrealistic to expect otherwise.

        • Sorry, I mean to link:


          I had been researching the “Chilling Effect” in terms of the Gary legal threats. The principles are similar though. My mistake.

  9. Licensed in Oregon says:

    The big tobacco money has dried up, and you’re messing with their new business model.

  10. try again says:

    It is disingenuous for you to call Gary a UO attorney, unless you call all attorneys who occasionally do work for the University (and other clients) UO attorneys. Someone asked what UO is paying Gary for asking for a retraction. Why on earth would the UO have anything to do with it? Paranoid much? You defamed his firm and members of it and he asked for a retraction. What is so very hard to understand about this?

    • Ben says:

      UO doesn’t earn the right for the paranoia to stop until they demonstrate a reform from corrupt public records practices.

  11. Barbra says:

    Is Merely Explaining The Streisand Effect To Someone A ‘Threat’?

    Seems like UO’s lawyers should read up on this, given their various threats and harassment claims against you.

    Popehat here – http://popehat.com/2015/04/14/no-good-deed-how-jose-arcaya-ph-d-esq-went-from-suing-a-client-over-a-yelp-review-to-complaining-about-scott-greenfield/

    Techdirt summary here – https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150419/06242030719/is-merely-explaining-streisand-effect-to-someone-threat.shtml