Dobelle seeks UH records

An attorney for fired University of Hawaii President Evan Dobelle says his client wants to see documents turned over to the state Office of Information Practices before determining if he should object to their release to the public.

However, OIP Director Les Kondo said state law does not allow the agency to turn documents over to anyone. Only the university can make the documents public, Kondo wrote in a letter yesterday to Dobelle's attorney Richard Fried.

"As a matter of general principle, Dr. Dobelle will not be asserting any right of privacy in connection in the matter," Fried wrote to OIP yesterday. "However, without an opportunity to review the material in question, it is impossible to make a fully informed decision."

In his letter, Fried said Dobelle was shut out of his office after he was fired and was denied access to any of his records, data or computer.

The Star-Bulletin and other news media have turned to OIP after UH attorneys denied requests to release the final audit of Dobelle's protocol fund, minutes of the executive-session meetings when Dobelle was evaluated and fired, and other documents, including e-mails. University attorneys cited the former president's privacy right and the ongoing mediation to resolve a possible lawsuit over his termination as the reasons for not releasing the records.

Last week, Kondo wrote to Dobelle and Fried, giving the former president until Friday to comment on whether the documents should be released and if he would be asserting a right to privacy.

In response to Fried's letter yesterday, Kondo said he is soliciting Dobelle's comments as a courtesy.

"In our opinion, Dr. Dobelle has adequate information and a sufficient understanding of the records to articulate his privacy interest, if any," Kondo wrote. "If Dr. Dobelle does not wish to assert any privacy interest in the records, we would appreciate you advising us of the fact so we do not have to wait for Dr. Dobelle's response."

Other documents being sought by news media include:

>> E-mails, memos and correspondence relating to Dobelle's attendance at the Board of Regents meeting on June 15.

>> E-mails, memos and correspondence between the university and the UH Foundation relating to the protocol fund.
>> An opinion survey conducted by the Massachusetts-based Opinion Dynamics Corp., and correspondence between the university and the company about the survey.
>> Procurement and project management reports on the renovation of College Hill.
>> Side agreements to Dobelle's employment contract.
>> Records relating to the renovation of Dobelle's office and the use of money from the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii to pay for the renovation.


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