CSU attempts to prevent airing of chancellor search committee tapes

Colorado State University lawyers are attempting to regain control of recordings of a CSU board meeting held in secret last month where members decided to select their own vice chairman, Joe Blake, as sole finalist for the new university chancellorship.

CSU is being sued by The Colorado Independent, the Fort Collins Coloradoan and Pubelo Chieftain for violating state open-meeting laws. Larimer County judge Stephen Schapanski earlier ordered CSU to turn over the meeting recordings so that he could review them in chambers to determine, in part, how the court should proceed.

Before Schapanski could do so, however, CSU filed a motion arguing that the plaintiffs sued before asking for the recording and that the plaintiffs’ lawyers failed to do the proper paperwork to allow the judge to listen to the recording. CSU is asking that, for those reasons, the judge throw out the case.

The motion, filed late Wednesday, was just the latest of the “lawyerly” arguments put forth by the CSU defense team in a case that is really about widespread suspicion of insider-dealing and cronyism in the hiring of Blake to head the public university. As chancellor, Blake will command a, as yet undisclosed, tax-funded salary and will significantly influence how the university spends its large tax-based budget.

In papers submitted to the court yesterday, lawyer for the plaintiffs Christopher Beall said the CSU attorneys are stretching legal reasoning in the motions, hoping something will stick and running up costs. Beall said CSU’s requests are mere delay tactics.

“The net result… of the defendant’s unreasonable and frivolous position is to increase the cost of this litigation.”

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