Friday, March 06, 2009

Democrat(ic) Money Burn: Attorney's Fees

Should the Cincinnati Public Schools be paying the fees for the attorneys who sue them? Strange, huh? You get sued and you pay the attorney that sues you. Can this be real?

For the Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education, it just might be.

Today's Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the newspaper has taken legal action to force the School Board to turn over the resumes submitted to it for the position of school superintendent. Those resumes are sitting in a P.O. Box controlled by the Board that will presumably go unchecked until the Board decides to check it. The resumes are not being made available for public inspection until the Board decides to open the P.O. Box they control and, right now, they are not allowing access to its contents. They are doing so in an effort to control the dissemination of this information. Eventually, the Board will divulge the information on their own schedule.

This legal action should come as no surprise to the people (both of them) who read this blog. One month ago, I predicted that legal action could ensue from this scheme devised by the Democratically controlled Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education.

Once these resumes are in a P.O. Box controlled by a public entity, they are in the control of that public entity and they are a public record. I strongly believe that this scheme devised by the Democratically controlled school board is illegal and violates the public's right to access public records.

If the judge hearing this case agrees, then the law is equally unambiguous about who pays the lawyer who sued the School Board: YOU. The law says, "[I]f the court issues an injunction (i.e., if the public body loses), the court shall order the public body to pay all court costs. In addition, the court shall also order the public body to pay the filing party its reasonable attorney fees."

Now, I'm not brand new. There are great lawyers defending the School Board and they have rightly pointed out that the law may be unclear on this specific question. I have no doubt that the lawyers for the Board would have explained this to their client. But, the client presumably made the decision after getting clear legal advice.

The Democratically controlled School Board is risking YOUR tax dollars by engaging in this silly scheme to hide from public view that which the public is entitled to see and now it will result in a costly legal fight. If they win, they will have paid legal fees to defend a questionable legal scheme. If they lose, your tax dollars will pay for the Enquirer's attorney and all the costs associated with the litigation. That's the law.

All seven School Board members endorsed the Democrat running for President in 2008. The Democrats are in charge of the schools in Cincinnati. We need a change on the School Board.