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Cal State Stanislaus president says documents stolen, welcomes attorney general inquiry

The president of Cal State Stanislaus said Wednesday he believes that documents relating to a fundraising appearance by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin were stolen and given to students to stoke controversy over the upcoming event.

President Hamid Shirvani also revealed that he has asked Palin to release information about her speaking fee to cool some of the heat that has generated threats of a lawsuit, accusations from a state senator and questions from California’s attorney general. The former vice presidential candidate has yet to respond, Shirvani said.   

The San Joaquin Valley university is investigating how parts of Palin’s draft contract got into the hands of students who then turned them over to state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who has been highly critical of the university about the visit. 

The action comes a day after California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown expanded an inquiry into whether the university and an affiliated foundation violated the state Public Records Act after refusing Yee’s request for documents related to Palin’s compensation and other aspects of her June 25 appearance. Brown said he would also look at whether the university had illegally sought to discard the documents.

In a Tuesday news conference attended by Yee, students said they found the documents, including parts of Palin’s contract, in a campus dumpster. But university officials said the documents were the only ones missing from the personal recycling bin of Susana Gajic-Bruyea, executive director of the Cal State Stanislaus Foundation.

Police at the campus in Turlock, southeast of Modesto, are looking into whether someone took the documents from Gajic-Bruyea’s office bin, Shirvani said.

Yee and other open-government advocates are pressing for more transparency from foundations like that at Cal State Stanislaus and other nonprofits affiliated with public universities. The senator is sponsoring legislation, SB 330, that would require those groups to adhere to California’s Public Records Act.

The nonprofits argue that because they are private organizations, the state law doesn’t apply to them. Cal State Stanislaus Foundation President Matt Swanson has said that no public funds are being used for Palin's compensation and that the Speakers Bureau requires that the financial terms remain confidential.

Shirvani said that he welcomed Brown’s inquiry and that the school had nothing to hide. But he accused the attorney general and Yee of engaging in ideologically motivated “political theater.”

“These are bad economic times, and this is a fundraiser with a good possibility of raising a net $200,000 for our students which are desperately needed,” Shirvani said in his first extensive comments about the matter. “Why is it a problem to bring Gov. Palin to a community where they like her? Sen. Yee is using us as a political pawn, and it is so very unfair.”

Yee disputed that characterization.

“The senator has been fighting for open government all of his career,” said chief of staff Adam Keigwin. “There does seem to be more public interest because of Palin’s celebrity, but that is not the senator’s motivation.”

Shirvani said Palin’s speech is expected to raise more money than any single fundraiser in the past. It will be held in the university cafeteria, and there will be seating at the tables for about 300 people; tickets are $500. But he said the campus foundation is footing the estimated $200,000 to $250,000 bill for the event. The university will charge the foundation for use of the space, food, security and other expenses.

-- Carla Rivera

 
Comments () | Archives (11)

Students that turned over the contract to the Senator could be held liable..given the contract confidentiality clause..they should have returned it to the university office and not released it to a third party. They in essence were accessories to a crime by releasing a confidential document to authorities when they very well knew it was confidential. Palin can cancel her speaking event now without recourse to the Foundation because the contract was breached by the Foundation when it was made public. I think that is what she should do.

JL doesn't have any idea what he is talking about. A contract stipulates that the members of the contract keep the info confidential. The contract, if placed in the trash is by definition discarded and the students are innocent of any crime. This is an area that industrial spies take advantage of to acquire information.

I agree with JL, the people who evidently stole the documents should be tracked down and dealt with.

He/she is also correct Ms. Palin can cancel the contract for the breach but that seems to be the goal of her detractors.

I'm surprised at what seems to be a concerted effort from the Attorney General on down to stop her from speaking and embarrassing those that invited her.

The foundations have been around for a long time and inviting speakers and paying their way. Why are these people so afraid of what she has to say?

Just what is Palin hiding?

When so many schools are struggling for money, why should Palin be paid to speak? If Palin really cared about people instead of money, she would waive her speaking fee.

It was announce this morning that Shrivani is trying to go after the students who busted him in an act of revenge for them busting him on this incredible set of lies and his attempt to hide evidence about the use of State funds for this, while cutting classes for students. If this is found to be the case, Shrivani hould resign immeditately, or be fired.

The school admits that the records in question were in a recycle bin. So, they WERE trying to destroy the records? Hmmm.

Almost daily we listen to her trash talk (she is in the Quayle and “W” league), all thanks to the man who now claims that he never called himself a maverick, McCain, right, tell us another. She spends her days trash talking it is only fitting that someone found a great place for her contract. You know she is a VP silver metal winner. I guess some dumpster diving found it, All’s Well That Ends Well.

Shirvani said Palin’s speech is expected to raise more money than any single fundraiser in the past. It will be held in the university cafeteria, and there will be seating at the tables for about 300 people; tickets are $500. But he said the campus foundation is footing the estimated $200,000 to $250,000 bill for the event. The university will charge the foundation for use of the space, food, security and other expenses.

Really?

300 x 500 = 150,000

Sounds like they are going to loose money...how can that possibly be a "fundraiser" - a fund looser for sure.

If this event is going to be held in the cafeteria and the school is charging for the space...how much can that possibly be? $20,000

let's take the low-end estimate

$200,000 - $20,000 = $180,000 approx for speaking fees for Sarah Palin.

In any event, considering how the Cal States are struggling one would think that a true-blue All-American gal like Sarah Palin would only ask for her expenses to be paid for and donate her time to an intritution of public institution...

If it's private funds paying for this, fine. I just feel sorry for the embarrassing spectacle Palin brings wherever she goes. Too bad for the CSU Stanislaus students.

"But university officials said the documents were the only ones missing from the personal recycling bin of Susana Gajic-Bruyea, executive director of the Cal State Stanislaus Foundation."

Personal recycling bin? LOL! Hasn't Ms. Gajic-Bruyea ever heard of a paper shredder? That would have kept the dumpster diving students from finding the documents. But them Ms. Palin seems to be associated with an ongoing comedy of errors.


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