Judges orders MU to release audits to Star

MISSOURI ‘ A state district court judge has ruled in favor of The Kansas City Star in its pursuit of more than 500 internal audit records from the University of Missouri.

The school had argued that the audits should be closed because they contained confidential information about individual employees. Officials also reasoned that the state’s Sunshine Law did not apply because the audits were not classified as public records.

In his Sept. 27 ruling, Boone County Circuit Judge Frank Conley refused to apply the exemption, stating the school failed to provide substantial evidence that the records should have been kept private. Conley then ruled in an Oct. 25 hearing that the university committed a ‘purposeful violation’ and awarded attorney’s fees and expenses to The Star.

In a Star editorial, editors said, ‘The taxpayer-supported University of Missouri system wants to have it both ways: more public dollars but without public scrutiny. This attitude ‘ give us money but don’t ask how we’re managing it ‘ insults taxpayers.’

Cypress Media v. Univ. of Missouri, case no. 98CC078044 (Boone County Ct. Sept. 27, 2002)