UT Austin launches legal fight to conceal how much money they wasted suing Ryan O'Neal over Farrah Fawcett painting
By Martin Hill
LibertyFight.com
January 29, 2014


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The University of Texas System claims that the "UT System institutions are charged with responsibility for stewardship of the resources entrusted to them by the federal and state governments and by families and students." But how well are they living up to their promise?


UPDATE 8:06AM Central time: Welcome to the University of Texas at Austin, thanks for visiting this article. Now why don't you just tell us how much money you wasted on your greedy lawsuit, trying to steal Farrah's painting? [You can view their visitor log here: http://libertyfight.com/2014/UTAUSTIN2014.jpg.]

University of Texas lawyers have filed legal documents explaining why they should not be forced to comply with a public records request asking how much money they spent suing actor Ryan O'Neal. The UT system sued the actor over an Andy Warhol painting of actress Farrah Fawcett which hangs in O'Neal's home. O'Neal won the suit last month and thus got to keep his painting. In early December, LibertyFight.com issued a public records request to the UT System inquiring how much money they had spent on the suit. Since taxpayers help fund the university, it seemed to be in the public interest. However, in multiple pages of legalese, UT Austin claims otherwise. [For more information on the painting of the 'Charlie's Angels' star and the controversy surrounding it, see our previous article Taxpayer funded Univ. of Texas System wastes money suing Ryan O'Neal over an Andy Warhol Farrah Fawcett painting 12/12/13.]

The original public records request read as follows:

Sent: Thu 12/12/13 4:16 AM
To: publicinformation@utsystem.edu

Hello, can you please tell me how much money the University of Texas system has spent and any estimate of the cost of the lawsuit against actor Ryan O'Neal regarding the Farrah Fawcett Andy Warhol portrait? [ http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/08/showbiz/fawcett-oneal-warhol-trial/ ]

Where does the money to fund this lawsuit come from, specifically?
Are the lawyers litigating this case employees of the UT system or contracted individuals?
Who in the UT system made the decision to file this lawsuit? Was a vote necessary to do this?

Thanks,
Martin Hill


The Office of General Counsel of the UT System sent a letter to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot and Hill on January 7th resisting disclosure of the information. It stated, in part,
"We first note that the Requestor asks System to answer questions. A governmental body is not required to answer factual questions in responding to a request for information under the act. ..However, a governmental body must make a good-faith effort to relate a request to responsive information that is within its possession or control... In this instance, System has done so and anticipates that the responsive documents it maintains have applicable exceptions to disclosure. Accordingly, we reserve all the listed exceptions in the public Information Act and those captured by "other law" in Section 552.101, Texas Government Code.

With this request for decision, we are notifying the Office of te Attorney General that the University of Texas System will seek to withhold responsive documents pending review by your office. [See the full letter here.]

A 2nd letter sent to Hill from the University lawyer on January 7th stated, "I write to advise you that we will seek an opinion from the Office of the Attorney General as to the statutory exceptions applicable to documents System has related as being responsive to your request."

On January 14th the UT lawyers wrote a third letter to Hill and the TX Attorney General titled Addendum to Open Record Request #1 from Martin Hill to The University of Texas System.

It stated, in part, that "System asserts the submitted document is protected under Section 552.107" of the Texas Government Code, which "protects information from public disclosure if it is prohibited from disclosure by a duty to the client under the Texas Rules of Evidence or the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct." They also invoked "attorney client privilege" and "Open Records Decision No. 676," which states "a governmental body has as much right as a private individual to consult with its attorney without risking the disclosure of communications protected by the attorney client privilege." They went on to argue that "the information has been kept confidential" and that the documents "were not intended to be, and have not been, disclosed to parties other than those encompassed by the protection of the attorney-client privilege."


After four pages of legal drivel, UT concludes "System respectfully requests that the Attorney General review the arguements presented in this brief and issue a ruling the representative sample of information is protected from disclosure under sections 552.107 and 552.111 of the Act. [See full letter here.]

The University of Texas System Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 states "UT System institutions are charged with responsibility for stewardship of the resources entrusted to them by the federal and state governments and by families and students. Even with tuition increases in the last several years, UT System academic institutions are widely recognized as among the nation's best values in higher education ...The UT System will continue to strive to do even more."

UT Austin visited the previous LibertyFight.com article on this matter, Taxpayer funded Univ. of Texas System wastes money suing Ryan O'Neal over an Andy Warhol Farrah Fawcett painting on December 12th, immediately after it was published.

UT's shadiness on this matter just goes to show once again that despite government's claims of responsibility and accountability to the people, they really think they can do whatever they want.


Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 TV Los Angeles, The Press Enterprise, LewRockwell.com, WhatReallyHappened.com, Infowars.com, PrisonPlanet.com, Economic Policy Journal, FreedomsPhoenix, Haaretz, TMZ, Veterans Today, Jonathan Turley blog, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, National Motorists Association, AmericanFreePress.net, RomanCatholicReport.com, WorldNetDaily, OverdriveOnline.com, Educate-Yourself.org, TexeMarrs.com, Dr. Kevin Barrett's Truth Jihad radio show, Strike-The-Root.com, Pasadena Weekly, ActivistPost.com, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI AM 640, IamtheWitness.com, Redlands Daily Facts, BlackBoxVoting, The Michael Badnarik Show, The Wayne Madsen Report, Devvy.com, Rense.com, The Contra Costa Times, Pasadena Star News, Silicon Valley Mercury News, Long Beach Press Telegram, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, L.A. Harbor Daily Breeze, CopBlock.org, DavidIcke.com, Whittier Daily News, KCLA FM Hollywood, The Fullerton Observer, Antiwar.com, From The Trenches World Report, and many others. Archives can be found at LibertyFight.com and DontWakeMeUp.Org.

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