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This is the forty-ninth post in an ongoing series as we file Missouri Sunshine Law (RSMo 610) requests and investigate the non-renewal of the contract of University of Central Missouri President Aaron Podolefsky. Links to previous coverage are below the fold. BG and MB

Yesterday we posted on the University of Central Missouri Board of Governors’ successful attempt to acquire the gift history of benefactor Benoit Wesly. We also asked if they inquired about others’ gift history. We received no documents indicating such.

There are implications involved in a public entity acquiring information in Missouri – if anyone asks them what they have, they’re supposed to let that anyone know. The University of Central Missouri Board of Governors, as a public entity, is subject to the Missouri Sunshine Law. We are aware that the University of Central Missouri Foundation has previously declined requests for information, supposedly because they are not subject to the requirements of Missouri’s public records statutes. Apparently that depends on who is doing the asking.

After initial resistance from the Foundation…

…The Foundation’s legal counsel, Stinson, Morrison, Hecker LLP, recommends that all donor information be kept confidential. Their interpretation of the law is that we have the ability to keep such giving history private.

We feel that were it to be known that the Foundation releases such information to outside agencies or individuals, we would experience a chilling effect on our ability to solicit and secure future gifts…

…they apparently relented, even though our Sunshine Law request did not turn up any documents explaining this change in policy or even acknowledging such.

What would make the University of Central Missouri Board of Governors discard the advice of nonprofit fundraising professionals?

….1. Is it your legal counsel’s specific opinion  that the information requested be denied Mr. Wright and/or UCM’s Board of Governors, or is it a general recommendation that all donor information be confidential.

2. Is it your opinion that Mr. Wright or the university is “an individual or outside agency?”

3. If I were to make a similar request as past president and emeriti Foundation Board member, would that request be denied. Further, if a Foundation Board officer and/or Foundation Board member made a similar request, would it be denied?

4. Is it your position and the opinion of the legal counsel that the Missouri Sunshine Law does not apply to the Foundation?….

[emphasis in original]

It must be all in how you phrase the question. And what would prompt them to ask for that information for one specific donor and not for others? Is there a specific price point for doing the right thing?

From the records we acquired via our Sunshine Law request directed to the Board of Governors we have been able to ascertain that Benoit Wesly has given $408,250.00 to the University through the Foundation, with another $90,000.00 pledged. The content of the three page document listing that gift history is below the fold.

[page 1 of 3, unnumbered] COPY

Payment Jun 12, 2009 Soft $3,250.00 2009 Foundation Annual Fund UCM Maastricht Medallion International Award Fac Staff

    $3,250.00 2009 Foundation Annual Fund UCM Maastricht Medallion International Award for Stude

Payment Sep 30, 2008 Self $1,750.00 2009 Foundation Annual Fund UCM Maastricht Medallion International Award Fac Staff

    $1,750.00 2009 Foundation Annual Fund UCM Maastricht Medallion International Award for Stude

Pledge Sep 23, 2008 Self $50,000.00 $45,000.00 Active 2009 Foundation Annual Fund UCM Maastricht Medallion International Award Fac Staff

    $50,000.00 $45,000.00 Active 2009 Foundation Annual Fund UCM Maastricht Medallion International Award Stude

Gift Aug 28, 2008 Self $15,000.00 2009 Foundation Annual Fund Presidents Fund

Gift May 15, 2008 Self $3,500.00 2008 Foundation Annual Fund Presidents Fund

Gift Oct 12, 2006 Self $3,500.00 2007 Foundation Annual Fund Presidents Fund

Gift Nov 03, 2005 Self $3,500.00 2006 Foundation Annual Fund Presidents Fund

Gift Oct 12, 2004 Self $3,500.00 2005 Foundation Annual Fund Fashion Merchandising Program

Gift Sep 09, 2003 Self $3,500.00 2004 Foundation Unrestricted The Central Annual Fund

Gift Mar 27, 2002 Self $3,500.00 2002 Foundation Unrestricted The Central Annual Fund

Gift Apr 07, 2000 Self $3,500.00 2000 Foundation Annual Camp. Hospitality Management Association Scholarship Endowment

Gift Apr 21, 1999 Self $3,500.00 1999 Foundation Annual Camp. Presidents Fund

[page 2 of 3, unnumbered] COPY

Gift Feb 03, 1998 Self $3,500.00 1998 Foundation Annual Camp. Presidents Fund

Gift Apr 25, 1997 Self $3,500.00 1997 Foundation Annual Camp. Presidents Fund

Gift Apr 25, 1996 Self $3,500.00 1996 Foundation Annual Camp. Presidents Fund

Gift Apr 25, 1995 Self $3,500.00 1995 Foundation Annual Camp. Presidents Fund

Gift Apr 22, 1994 Self $3,500.00 1994 Foundation Annual Camp. Presidents Fund

Gift Apr 23, 1993 Self $3,500.00 1993 Foundation Annual Camp. Presidents Fund

Gift Apr 06, 1992 Self $3,500.00 1992 Foundation Annual Camp. Presidents Fund

Gift Apr 18, 1991 Self $3,500.00 1991 Foundation Annual Camp. Presidents Fund

Gift Apr 20, 1990 Self $3,500.00 1990 Foundation Annual Camp. Presidents Fund

Gift Apr 20, 1989 Self $3,500.00 1989 Annual Campaign Presidents Fund

[page 3 of 3, unnumbered] COPY

Gift Jun 12, 2009 Soft $3,250.00 2009 Foundation Annual Fund UCM Maastricht Medallion International Award Fac Staff

    $3,250.00 2009 Foundation Annual Fund UCM Maastricht Medallion International Award for Stude

Gift May 30, 1997 Self $5,000.00 1998 Foundation Annual Camp. Ardon-Doron International Scholarship

Gift May 13, 1997 Self $100,000.00 1997 Foundation Annual Camp. Miscellaneous Restricted

Gift Dec 16, 1996 Self $100,000.00 1997 Foundation Annual Camp. Miscellaneous Restricted

Gift May 03, 1996 Self $100,000.00 1996 Foundation Annual Camp. Miscellaneous Restricted

Gift Nov 03, 1995 Self $5,000.00 1996 Foundation Annual Camp. Ardon-Doron International Scholarship

Gift Apr 27, 1994 Self $5,000.00 1994 Foundation Annual Camp. Ardon-Doron International Scholarship

Gift Jun 29, 1992 Self $5,000.00 1992 Foundation Annual Camp. Ardon-Doron International Scholarship

Gift Jun 30, 1990 Self $250.00 1992 Foundation Annual Camp. Special Scholarships

[emphasis in originals]

Now that the Board of Governors and the Foundation, through its action in releasing that information to an “outside individual or entity”, have opened this Pandora’s box, we have an idea of others’ gift history we’d like to acquire. We’re making a list.

Our previous coverage of the issue:

Three steps behind, and to the right (January 25, 2008)

Three steps behind, and to the right, part 2 – a microcosm of our universe (September 21, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”? (October 15, 2009) (transcript of a portion of the live radio broadcast)

It wasn’t just about a tree (October 21, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement?”: I heard it on the radio (October 21, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement?”: let’s not get cut out of the will (October 22, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement?”: $87.75 will get you one sheet of paper (October 23, 2009)



“A Gentleman’s Agreement?”: They’re not playing hardball, they’re playing cat and mouse
 (October 23, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement?”: a cola and some scoreboards (October 24, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement?”: a few more pieces of the puzzle? (October 28, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: your silence means consent (October 29, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: let’s not get cut out of the will, part 2 (October 30, 2009)

Old media irony impairment (October 30, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement?”: I heard it on the radio, part 2 (October 31, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: where everybody knows your name (October 31, 2009)

Methinks that someone is paying attention! (November 2, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: Bond, Stadium Bond (November 4, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: where everybody knows your name, part 2 (November 4, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: I heard it on the radio, part 3 (November 5, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: nothing succeeds like success (November 6, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: your Friday news dump (November 6, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: nothing exceeds like excess (November 7, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: a grade for Accounting 101 (November 7, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: there ought to be a law (November 8, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: there’s gotta be a contract around here somewhere (November 9, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: there ought to be a law, part 2 (November 10, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: Garbo speaks! (November 12, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle (November 13, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”? Follow the money and it reveals the timeline (November 14, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: the new president search consulting contract (November 18, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: a march on a cold and rainy day (November 18, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: raise their voices (November 19, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: great moments in radio reporting (November 21, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: Oh, my! (December 3, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: It’s simple, really… (December 5, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: I do truly care about the success of our students (December 6, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: “…a wonderful relationship there we’re really proud of…” (December 7, 2009)

Oh brother, it’s time to convene another panel on blogger ethics… (December 8, 2009)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: a lesson on how not to attempt damage control (January 26, 2010)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: a lesson on how not to attempt damage control, part 2 (January 28, 2010)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: welcome to the party… (February 1, 2010)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: welcome to the party, four months late, part 2 (February 2, 2010)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: those people from Denmark, you know, the Dutch (February 3, 2010)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: a conversation with the Muleskinner (February 6, 2010)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: a simple question (February 8, 2010)

Find the Non-Employee Game! (February 8, 2010)(NYCMule)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: a different choice of phrase would have made it all better (February 11, 2010)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: never mind the facts, here’s right wingnut talk radio (February 13, 2010)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: and we should give weight to your opinion… (February 18, 2010)

“A Gentleman’s Agreement”?: fools for spin (February 20, 2010)