Watchdog group sues California university over Palin contract

Modesto BeeApril 16, 2010 

A nonprofit government watchdog group has sued California State University, Stanislaus and its foundation over their failure to release records relating to Sarah Palin's June appearance on campus.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Stanislaus County Superior Court by Californians Aware, alleges that the documents should be made public because state employees used them in their jobs.

Several officers of the foundation — Executive Director Susana Gajic-Bruyea, Treasurer Russ Giambelluca, and Chairman Hamid Shirvani - also are university employees. Shirvani is president of the university; Gajic-Bruyea and Giambelluca are vice presidents.

The foundation, which signed a contract to bring Palin to Turlock for a fund-raiser celebrating the university’s 50th anniversary, has not released records relating to her appearance. Foundation officials have maintained that because the money to pay Palin was privately donated and the contract includes a confidentiality clause, they don’t have to release the amount.

CalAware’s position is that operations of the university and its foundation are so entwined, the information must be public.

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