The Ottumwa Courier

AP Iowa

September 10, 2013

Iowa AG asks judge to ignore 'sunshine advisory'

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Attorney General Tom Miller's office is asking a judge to ignore its longstanding position that government settlement agreements are public records, saying it's irrelevant in a dispute over the University of Iowa's two-year delay in releasing such a document.

In a brief filed on behalf of the university Monday, assistant attorney general Jordan Esbrook urged Judge Douglas Russell to ignore Miller's 2004 "sunshine advisory" telling Iowans that settlements involving public agencies are never secret. University rules that say public records are released without consent of the subject are also "irrelevant," Esbrook wrote.

The office is defending the university against legal action by The Associated Press, which claims the university violated the Iowa Open Records Act in delaying access to a resignation agreement with surgeon John Chaloupka.

The AP requested the document and similar agreements in 2011. The university released six others but declined to release Chaloupka's, instead notifying his attorneys of the request and giving them time to file legal action to block its release. University lawyers had concluded the document was public, but nonetheless allowed the delay after Chaloupka opposed its release on grounds that judges found lacked merit.

A judge rejected Chaloupka's injunction request in 2012, ordering the university to release the document immediately. The university again refused, giving Chaloupka time to appeal. An appeals court upheld the judge's release order 3-0 in January, and it was made public in March.

The settlement showed Chaloupka was stripped of key duties after clashing with other doctors, but allowed to keep his $380,000 salary for one year.

While the AP prevailed in securing the release, the news cooperative is asking Russell to rule that the university violated the law and to award legal remedies, including an order requiring the university to pay its legal fees and assess a fine against the records custodian. It argues that officials ignored university rules, state law and Miller's sunshine advisory.

Text Only
AP Iowa
  • Montana man will head Iowa schools for deaf, blind COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Board of Regents has named a Montana man as superintendent of the state's schools for the deaf and sight impaired. The regents announced Wednesday the board had selected Steven J. Gettel to head the Iowa School fo

    April 24, 2014

  • Senate renews effort to legalize medical marijuana DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A renewed effort to legalize the use of a form of marijuana to treat chronic epilepsy won bipartisan support Wednesday in the Iowa Senate. A three-member subcommittee, then the full Senate Ways and Means Committee, approved a

    April 24, 2014

  • Iowa man accused of torturing, killing bald eagle DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa man has been charged with torturing and killing a bald eagle. A federal grand jury in Des Moines returned an indictment Wednesday against Jason John Thomas. An affidavit filed by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service invest

    April 24, 2014

  • Woman pleads not guilty to fatal 2012 Iowa crash SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Le Mars woman has pleaded not guilty to two charges stemming from a fatal 2012 hit-and-run crash in Sioux City. Online court records say 43-year-old Victoria Ernst Moreno made the written pleas on Wednesday to vehicular homi

    April 24, 2014

  • Woman charged with arson in Mason City blaze MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — A 32-year-old Mason City woman is accused of setting a fire in an apartment building. The Mason City Globe Gazette says (http://bit.ly/1iKnJhy ) Jacque Paulsen is charged with felony arson. Online jail records say Paulsen rema

    April 24, 2014

  • Iowa House, Senate OK higher ed funding increase DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa House and Senate have approved an education budget that should let higher education officials freeze tuition for a second-straight year. The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/1nHF2k9 ) both chambers approve

    April 24, 2014

  • Iowa officer wounded in gun range accident HAMPTON, Iowa (AP) — A northern Iowa police officer is recovering from hand surgery following an accidental shooting at a gun range. The Hampton Police Department says the accident occurred last week during night handgun qualification. The department

    April 23, 2014

  • Crime not suspected in a West Des Moines death WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Investigators don't think a crime was involved in the death of a Clive woman whose body was found next to a burning car in West Des Moines. Police say officers found the body Sunday morning when they arrived at the scene

    April 23, 2014

  • Officials ID body found in burning Iowa field ONEIDA, Iowa (AP) — Officials have released the name of a 78-year-old woman whose body was found by firefighters battling a blaze in a northeast Iowa field. She was identified as Generose "Genny" Bennett, of Oneida. The Greeley Fire Department respon

    April 23, 2014

  • Iowa delays plan to move inmates out of old prison FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Corrections is delaying plans to close the 175-year-old Iowa State Penitentiary after discovering problems in the heating and cooling system in its $132 million replacement. The department said Tuesday

    April 23, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National