Four years later, Doug Park is still hiding public records

10/15/2014: Thought I’d repost this email showing that it was current Interim GC Doug Park who sat on the public records requests which eventually led to the firing of Melinda Grier. Park seems to be at it again, with the help of Dave Hubin. The PR Office is using fees, delays, and redactions with abandon.

9/8/2011: RG reporter Ron Bellamy retires

I’ve never met him. But Ron Bellamy is the RG sports reporter who made me realize that what this country needs is political reporters who care as much about politics as sports reporters care about sports. His retirement announcement is here.

Bellamy’s persistent and unanswered public records inquiries about the Mike Bellotti contract ultimately led to a determination by Oregon AG John Kroger that Dave Frohnmayer’s longtime general counsel Melinda Grier had “provided deficient legal representation” to UO:

Richard Lariviere fired her. UO has been better ever since. Bellotti took his millions and split. UO’s new AD Ron Mullens is not going to repeat Mike Belotti’s mistakes – he’s on to a whole set of new ones. Dave Frohnmayer is no longer collecting a UO paycheck. Meanwhile Doug Park is still in the GC’s office, and his new boss is Randy Geller – Melinda Grier’s old assistant. Plenty of interesting stories left for Mr. Bellamy’s successors.

(Updated with DA’s response) Interim GC Doug Park says it’s harassment to cc him on a public records request

9/17/2014 update #2: Page down for the response from the District Attorney’s Office to the UO Public Records Office, and interim General Counsel Doug Park.

9/17/2014 update #1: Page down for a new letter to the District Attorney’s Office, with a cc to Mr. Park.

9/16/2014: Here’s my polite followup to a simple public records request for info on how much UO is paying outside lawyers and consultants. It’s 10 days past the normal due date:

From: Bill Harbaugh
Sent: Monday, September 15, 2014 8:51 PM
To: Public Record Requests
Cc: Kelly Wolf; Douglas Park
Subject: PR request, legal and consulting reports

Dear Ms Thornton

It’s now been more than two weeks since I made this PR request: http://publicrecords.uoregon.edu/content/banner-reports

As you know, the Oregon DOJ thinks that one week is generally a reasonable time to fulfill a request. This is a simple one: These BANNER reports take only a few minutes to run. I would appreciate if you could provide them promptly.

Bill Harbaugh

I cced Interim General Counsel Doug Park because I assumed he’d want to know that UO was out of compliance with the Oregon DOJ’s guidance on public records law. But Park thinks it’s harassment for me to cc him:

On Tuesday Sep 16, 2014, at 9:34 AM, Douglas Park <dougpark@uoregon.edu> wrote:

Bill:

I politely asked you to stop contacting me (see attached emails), but you continue to do so. This is the latest example. You also cc’d me on your recent demand for Melissa Matella’s information on 8/20/14 (the newest attorney in our office). I am not part of and do not control the Public Records Office. And I have no idea what BANNER reports you are now requesting. Thus, continuing to cc me on your emails to the Public Records Office serves no purpose, except harassment.

As I have previously noted, if you have a legitimate legal need that is part of the course and scope of your UO employment that concerns the UO, you may run that through your Department Chair or Dean so that he or she can determine whether it is something the General Counsel’s Office needs to assist with. Again, for your convenience, I added Andrew and Bruce to this email string so that they know they may need to assist you.

Doug

I point out this is part of his job:

From: Bill Harbaugh
Subject: Re: PR request, legal and consulting reports
Date: September 16, 2014 at 9:44:35 AM PDT
To: doug park
Cc: Lisa Thornton, “(W.) Andrew Marcus”, Bruce Blonigen, Kelly Wolf, Robert Kyr, Michael Dreiling, Bruce McAllister

Hi Doug –

I assume that as interim GC you have a responsibility for ensuring UO follows the public records law. Your office frequently reviews that office’s procedures, and gets involved in particular requests, as we’ve read in the newspapers lately.

The AG’s interpretation of that law is that one week is a reasonable period of time to respond, and the PR Office is now well past that period. This should be matter of professional interest to you, and I will continue ccing you in situations like this.

I am sorry that you view this as harassment. I’ve cced Senate President Kyr, UAUO President Dreiling, and UO Ombudsman Bruce McAllister on this reply.

Bill Harbaugh

Mr. Park expands on his claims:

From: Douglas Park
Subject: RE: PR request, legal and consulting reports
Date: September 16, 2014 at 10:01:52 AM PDT
To: Bill Harbaugh
Cc: Lisa Thornton, “(W.) Andrew Marcus”, Bruce Blonigen, Kelly Wolf, Robert Kyr, Michael Dreiling, Bruce McAllister

Dear Bill:

If the Public Records Office has a legal question, that Office is always welcome to contact the General Counsel’s Office for legal advice. It is unnecessary for you to contact me about such matters or otherwise cc me on your requests to that office, regardless of whether you are the requestor. You are merely using the public records laws as a tool for harassment.

Accordingly, I ask again that you follow the established procedures of filing your requests with the office that was created for that purpose: the Public Records Office. No one else in the world cc’s me on their public records requests: only you. Your conduct on this matter stands-outs as strikingly unique. It is so unique and unusual, concluding that it is intended to harass (because it serves no other purpose and no one else does it) is a logical conclusion.

Please do not contact me again. Contact from you has become unwanted and harassing.

Doug

My petition to Deputy District Attorney Patty Perlow for the documents, with a cc to Park:

from: Bill Harbaugh
to: PERLOW Patty
cc: Douglas Park <dougpark@uoregon.edu>, Kron Michael C <michael.c.kron@doj.state.or.us>, Public Record Requests, “(W.) Andrew Marcus”, Bruce Blonigen, Kelly Wolf, Robert Kyr, Michael Dreiling, Bruce MacAllister,

date: Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 11:03 PM
subject: public records petition, UO legal and consulting payment reports

Dear Deputy District Attorney Perlow:

On July 27 I made a public records request to the University of Oregon for

a) BANNER statements showing payments for legal services, from 5/31/2014 to the present.

b) BANNER statements showing payments for consulting services, from 1/1/2013 to the present

These are simple basic accounting statements showing the payee, date and amount of payments. To my knowledge there is nothing confidential about them, and UO has regularly provided them in the past without charge. Anyone with access to UO’s accounting system can run them in a few minutes.

Nearly 3 weeks have now passed, and the UO public records office has not responded to my request, or to the followup below.

Therefore I petition your office to order UO to produce these documents without delay and without charge.

Thank you for your attention to this matter,

Bill Harbaugh

And a prompt response to UO and Mr. Park, from the Lane County District Attorney’s Office:

From: PERLOW Patty
Subject: FW: public records petition, UO legal and consulting payment reports
Date: September 17, 2014 at 2:01:25 PM PDT
To: ‘Office of Public Records’ <pubrec@uoregon.edu>, ‘Douglas Park’ <dougpark@uoregon.edu>
Cc: ‘Bill Harbaugh’

Below is a public records appeal from Bill Harbaugh. Please let me know whether the University intends to provide the requested records and, if yes, a timeline for production.

Thank you,
Patty Perlow

As background, under Park’s predecessor, Randy Geller, the GC’s office hid the legal billings from public records requests, and even from the required reporting to the State Transparency Office. Park has to decide whether to try that again this year. So perhaps it’s not surprising he’s a little sensitive on this issue. Full Jan 2013 post here. An excerpt:

1/29/2013: Oregon has a law on government transparency: SB 2500, passed in 2009. State agencies are required to post a bunch of stuff, including expenditures. The webpage is here. But UO has stopped reporting what they spend on legal services. They don’t even admit that they stopped reporting – it now just goes from Laundry to Library, as if there’s nothing missing. Orwell would have loved it:

UO for 2012-13 FY (released fall 2013)

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 2.27.30 PM

Park wants another helper lawyer, and $ to show Geller docs

9/12/2014 update:

Job ad here: http://jobs.uoregon.edu/unclassified.php?id=4873. Still no update to the GC’s webpage about who is currently working there. Meanwhile Doug Park wants $79.60 for the docs explaining Geller’s sudden resignation:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “any emails or other public records sent or received by Randy Geller between March 9th and May 6th, related to his April 21 decision to retire, as announced by ‘Around the O'” 06/17/2014, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request. By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $79.60. Upon receipt of a check made payable to the University of Oregon for that amount, the office will proceed to locate, copy, and provide the records you have requested that are not exempt from disclosure. Your check may be sent to the attention of Office of Public Records, 6207 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-6207.

Request for a public interest fee waiver denied. Seriously? What does it take? A story on KATU television?

9/4/2014: Gottfredson gave Doug Park a $68K raise and Geller’s family bowl game junkets to serve as acting GC for a year

Continue reading

UO General Counsel’s office loses another one

7/29/2014:

Johnson Hall sure is hard on lawyers. In 2010 President Lariviere fired GC Melinda Grier for hiding public records about Mike Bellotti’s contract, then appointed her assistant Randy Geller after what mounted to a failed search for a replacement. (It appears Gottfredson has rehired Grier on the side though). In 2013 Assistant GC Paul Kaufmann left without explanation, half way through his initial one year contract. Earlier this year Randy Geller “retired” in the midst of the scandal over Gottfredson’s handling of the March8-9 basketball rape allegations.

And now the word is that Assistant GC John F. Salmon III left at the end of June, about 6 months after being hired. Again, no explanation.

Given that UO’s Legal Services Policy (if it’s ever signed by Gottfredson) gives these people the responsibility to defend UO and faculty and staff against accusations of misfeasance etc, and help Gottfredson stonewall the release of public records, you’d think that we could at least get a list of the current GC office’s attorneys and their qualifications. Nope. Their website is still “under construction” and has been since that embarrassing “General Counsel Emerita” episode in 2012:

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 11.40.58 AM

7/31/2012: Geller defames judge, appoints Grier as UO’s General Counsel Emeritus, attacks Senate Pres and IAC

In response to demands from Senate President Kyr and others including Frank Stahl, Nathan Tublitz and John Bonine, UO General Counsel Randy Geller announced yesterday he’s rescheduling his random drug testing hearing.

But it’s a sham, he’s picked another date when school is out of session. And he completely ignores the faculty / administrative agreement calling for UO policies like this to go through the Senate. That “policy on policies” agreement with Lariviere had been the Senate’s major accomplishment for 2011-2012. Now Geller thinks it isn’t worth a mention.

Geller also claims Senate President Rob Kyr and the IAC Chair made false and offensive comments about the university’s rulemaking process. Apparently that process’s feelings have been hurt, so Randy asks Kyr et al to apologize to it, and to some especially sensitive senior administrators:

Dear Rob and Brian:

I received your email of July 24, 2012, requesting a delay in the public hearing scheduled for August 23rd, 2012. The hearing will be rescheduled for September 13, 2012. Written comments will be accepted until noon on September 14, 2012. We will similarly postpone the date the rule will be filed with the Secretary of State and become final. The rule will be filed on September 21, 2012.

Your allegations about the University’s rulemaking processes are offensive and false , as are the comments made publicly by members of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee. I ask that you apologize in writing to President Berdahl, Rob Mullens, and me. I also ask that you censure the members of the IAC who have published offensive and defamatory comments.

Randolph Geller

General Counsel
University of Oregon

I like that “in writing” part. Maybe Geller wants Kyr to stand in front of the whole class and use the blackboard, like in third grade? Geller sent this out yesterday. Berdahl’s last few days look to be as crazy as his first. Adult supervision supposedly returns Aug 1, but Gottfredson still hasn’t signed his contract. and Gottfredson apparently signed his contract last night.

8/27/2012 9:00 AM: Geller defames judge:

Sorry, long story. Back in 2010 UO’s General Counsel Melinda Grier got in big trouble for ignoring multiple public records requests and failing to get a written contract for her friend, Athletic Director Mike Bellotti:

It was a big scandal and a humiliation for new UO President Lariviere, especially when he then had to pay Bellotti millions, after firing him for what was reportedly lax financial management of the athletic department.

So Lariviere fired Grier too, and got the Oregon DOJ to look into what had happened. Their investigation took 381+ hours, cost UO $44,086.60, and concluded that Grier (and/or her office, a bit ambiguous) had provided “deficient legal representation” to UO.

Lariviere then tried to hire an outside replacement for Grier, but after 6 months with no luck he gave up and just promoted her associate GC, Randy Geller. (Randy’s letter and resume are here. It was supposed to be a public search, but he wouldn’t release these until I petitioned the AG’s office under the public records law. His bit of intransigence cost UO another ~$1,000 in DOJ billing time.) Grier’s assistant GC Doug Park became the associate. And then eventually of course Lariviere got fired too, to be replaced by Berdahl and now by a permanent President, Mike Gottfredson.

And during the transition to Gottfredson a few weeks ago, Geller sent out a string of odd emails. One accused the UO Senate President and others of defaming him. Another, sent to the Senate STC, with President Gottfredson cced, included this:

The “investigation” of Melinda by DOJ was a hack job. Unfortunately, she was the first of several victims of the former Attorney General. His incompetence eventually led to his decision not to run for a second term and then to resign before the end of his term. If you google “John Kroger” I am sure you will find the Oregonian and Willamette Week articles.

There’s no doubt that Kroger, who has gone on to become president of Reed College, had his issues. But the Grier investigation was led by longtime Associate Attorney General David Leith, now a Marion County Circuit Court Judge. The other investigator was Keith Dubanevich, now Oregon Associate AG. Accusing a sitting judge and an associate AG of a “hack job” is competent professional behavior for UO’s chief lawyer? Maybe Geller’s just mad because the DOJ is fighting his efforts to get them to pay Frohnmayer’s law firm $864,000.

Meanwhile, who was it that broke the story on the Grier firing? Jeff Manning, at the time an investigative reporter for the Oregonian. And now the spokesperson for the AG John Kroger’s replacement, Ellen Rosenblum. And what happened to Melinda Grier? She’s been working as a consultant in an office she shares with a law firm that’s tried to persuade Randy Geller to hire them to do legal work for UO.

And – I’m not making this up – a few days ago Geller declared that she is now UO’s “General Counsel Emeritus” (sic):

Screen shot above, page here. We’ll see how long it stays up.

10:15 AM update: Grier’s now off Randy’s website. That was quick. The html from Friday is here. A commenter notes that this would break UO’s new policy for faculty emeritus status, which Geller and Berdahl signed off on in May. No word on his apology to Judge Leith and AAG Dubanevich yet.

12:15 PM update: Steve Duin of the Oregonian gets Geller to speak. Well worth reading. Must have been a fun party.

4:20 PM update: Geller apologizes to Kroger.

If he’s apologized for his equally unprofessional accusations against UO Senate Pres Kyr and IAC members, I guess I wasn’t on the list. From all indications UO’s new random duck drug testing policy will go forward without UO Senate review.

And this, via UO spokesperson Phil Weiler:

Statement regarding DOJ inquiry/General Counsel website

I have communicated directly with the president of Reed College and former
Oregon Attorney General John Kroger expressing my regret for the ill-advised
email I sent several weeks ago. My comments were unacceptable and I have
apologized to the former Attorney General and his staff.

I also recognize that it was inappropriate to use my office’s website to
recognize the former General Counsel for her years of service.

Randolph Geller
General Counsel

I’ve acquired quite a collection of other “un-lawyerly” messages from Randy over the years.

Register Guard to sue UO over Gottfredson’s redacted emails

7/28/2014: Christian Wihtol has the story in the RG, here:

The next legal step for the newspaper will be a lawsuit in Lane County Circuit Court, said Wendy Baker, the newspaper’s general counsel.

“The rejection of our appeal leaves us with no option but to file a lawsuit against the university. Oregon Public Records law exists to preclude this kind of secrecy among our public servants,” she said.

Andy Greif has more in the Oregonian.

No word yet on whether or not the NY Times will join in, or on how much of UO’s student tuition money President Mike Gottfredson is willing to pay to Dave Frohnmayer and HLGR, to help him continue to hide the documents that explain his administration’s response to the March 8-9 rape allegations.

The opinion by DA Alex Gardner and Deputy DA Patty Perlow is here, along with the 2011 Kroger/Leith opinion they cite. My understanding is that neither opinion has any weight in court. Normal procedure is for the DA to get the unredacted documents and examine them to see if the redactions are justified. It sounds like Perlow really did not want to do that here:

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 8.22.24 AM

It’s a stretch, given that UO specifically color-coded many redactions not on FERPA grounds, but on a claim of attorney-client privilege (typically granted only for advice, not facts), or because they included “frank discussions” which might frighten the public. A statement from US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on universities abuse of FERPA to hide documents is here.

In other public records news, the DA’s office has also gone with President Gottfredson’s claim that UO lawyers Doug Park, Samantha Hill, and John Salmon III are “faculty” and therefore do not have to release their resumes. Bizarre and secretive.

7/23/2014: The New York Times is not impressed by Gottfredson’s “sanitized” timeline and redactions

Chief Deputy DA Patty Perlow is handling this petition, for unredacted copies of the emails showing the UO administration’s efforts to cover up the March 8-9 rape allegations. There is another petition from the RG and Oregonian. Perlow has not yet ruled, but in response to a PR request she has sent me all the NYT petitions and UO’s responses. (No charge. For comparison, UO PR boss Dave Hubin wants $94.61 just to show the emails laying out the agenda and so on for Gottfredson’s “External Review Panel”.)

Hilariously, UO’s Interim General Counsel Doug Park is still refusing to sign his name to the responses he has written for UO. Or maybe he’s got a ghost writer, perhaps UO General Counsel Emerita Melinda Grier? In any case, the Times is not impressed by the UO’s arguments or President Gottfredson’s “sanitized” timeline. Their final response to UO begins:

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 11.26.52 AM

The RG and Oregonian have also appealed UO’s redactions to the DA. Documents on that should be available soon, at the moment I just have the petition.

  • NYT petition and UO response documents here (51 pages).
  • Links to the redacted cover-up emails etc. here.
  • Redacted U of Nike coffee mugs and t-shirts here.

Gottfredson posts Geller replacement Doug Park’s resume

I’ve been trying to get a copy of the resume’s and job application letters for UO’s lawyers in the General Counsel’s office for the past 8 weeks or so. The qualifications of UO’s attorneys are a matter of obvious public interest given UO’s many current legal problems, the new legal service policy which requires UO employees to use these lawyers if they are accused of work-related wrongdoing, and the astonishing increase in UO’s use of outside attorneys, who are managed by the GC’s office. I think UO’s attorneys are Douglas Park, Sam (Samantha) Hill, and John F. Salmon III but it’s hard to be sure – the GC’s website says nothing.

Doug Park has fought back hard, accusing me of harassment (sexual harassment, if I understand his innuendoes correctly) for asking to see these public records. I have a petition filed with the Lane County DA to get the documents and should have a response later this week. Today President Gottfredson announced that Park will be the interim GC. The announcement below includes the usual fluff, and, surprisingly, a link to his resume.

Meanwhile there’s no news as to what Randy Geller will do next. Geller’s unexpected “retirement” was announced in the midst of Gottfredson’s efforts to keep a lid on the basketball rape allegations. Perhaps he will get some lucrative consulting work from UO, as his former boss and “General Counsel Emerita” Melinda Grier has apparently done, after being fired by Lariviere for “deficient legal representation”.

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that Douglas Park has agreed to serve as Interim General Counsel for the University of Oregon. Since coming to the General Counsel’s Office in 2007, Mr. Park has provided invaluable guidance and advice to every college at the UO, and has assisted with multiple matters ranging from copyright and trademark issues, to library and museum acquisitions, to managing litigation in UO’s most high profile cases. He played an instrumental role in the formation and transition of our new Board of Trustees, and is known for his expertise in a broad range of higher education issues including government ethics, sponsored research, tenure and promotion, student rights and campus safety. Mr. Park has also served the National Association of College and University Attorneys as a planning committee member, and been a panelist or modsterator for multiple UO Law School and NACUA presentations. He currently serves on the Leadership Council for the UO’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, where he is the Chair of the Board Development Committee and a member of the Executive Committee.

Mr. Park earned a BA in English literature from the University of Washington in 1988, and a law degree from the UO in 1993. Before joining the General Counsel’s Office, he worked for nine years at the Oregon Department of Justice as an Assistant Attorney General, and then Senior Assistant Attorney General. While at the DOJ, Mr. Park was part of the U.S. Supreme Court team that successfully litigated Baldwin v. Reese. He also received the Outstanding Achievement Award, DOJ’s highest professional honor, for successfully defending the constitutionality of Oregon’s dangerous offender sentencing statute, and successfully defending the constitutionality of the appellate procedure outlined in State v. Balfour. Mr. Park has taught at the UO’s Law School as an adjunct professor, worked as a Washington State public defender, worked in the private sector, and interned at the Eugene Legal Aid. Mr. Park has also co-authored chapters published in the Oregon State Bar Criminal Law Manual, and an article published by the Willamette Law Review. See his full resume here.

Mr. Park begins his new appointment on July 1. Please join me in welcoming Doug to his new position.

Regards,

Michael Gottfredson, President

Frohnmayer et al billed Deschutes County $55K

for pursuing an unsuccessful ethics complaint against DA Patrick Flaherty:

Update: For a copy of the $35,000 summer contract Berdahl wrote Frohnmayer, see page 15 here. For info on Randy Geller’s efforts to get his firm $864,000 plus new UO contracts, see here.

County Counsel Mark Pilliod supplied these contracts and detailed invoices promptly and without charge – far more helpful than UO’s General Counsel’s office, which responds to public records requests with invoices like these – when they respond at all.

And thanks to that muckracking Jack Bog for the link.