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Friday, April 23, 2021

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UH must disclose docs on purchase


The Texas attorney general has ruled that the University has to disclose some documents connected to the sale of the KTRU radio station.

UH is required to release correspondence and the payment information of Public Radio Capital, a nonprofit consultant that brokered the sale of the Rice radio station to UH, following the attorney general’s ruling earlier this month.

The University asked the attorney general’s office for an opinion after the Texas Watchdog, an online news organization, requested information that UH considered legally protected.

“The Texas Public Information Act and the Texas Open Meeting Law are specific about when transaction details become public,” Richard Bonnin, executive director of media relations of UH said in a statement. “The University of Houston complied with these provisions regarding the acquisition of KTRU.”

Texas Watchdog requested the information as part of an investigation into suspected duplicity on the part of UH and Rice University during the sale of the radio station, according to an article published Jan. 14 on texaswatchdog.org.

The sale was organized last fall and has faced a lot of opposition in the UH and Rice communities. It is pending approval by the Federal Communications Commission.

After receiving the request for documents from Texas Watchdog, the University compiled the information they did not consider exempted by the Public Information Act for the organization, according to a letter written by Ruth Shapiro, an assistant general counsel at UH, which was given to Steve Miller, a journalist at Texas Watchdog.

The letter also informed Miller that the University was requesting an opinion from the attorney general’s office on the information they considered protected. It also informed PRC, the University’s consultant, of the situation and PRC’s right to present the attorney general with a legal argument if they did not want their information disclosed.

Shapiro also enclosed copies of the University’s request to the attorney general and letter to PRC.

“The Jan. 7 ruling requires UH to produce only certain communications with Public Radio Capital,” Bonnin said in a statement. “The ruling did agree with UH that additional information should be withheld.”

The University will comply with its legal obligations accordingly, Bonnin said.


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