The attorney general’s office has subpoenaed University of Idaho President C. Scott Green, as it continues to pursue a lawsuit against the State Board of Education.
This latest subpoena, dated Tuesday, centers on one of the key points of Attorney General Raúl Labrador’s June 20 lawsuit: Was the U of I competing with other suitors in its bid to purchase the University of Phoenix?
Labrador has said the State Board violated open meetings law when it met behind closed doors to discuss a possible purchase of Phoenix, a for-profit online university serving 85,000 students. The board, which acts as the U of I’s governing board of regents, has said the three closed-door meetings are legal — under a section of law covering preliminary discussions of a purchase that pits an Idaho bidder against competitors from other states or nations.
The subpoena demands that Green turn over a host of records by close of business Friday:
- Documents discussing any other bidders for Phoenix.
- Documents outlining the University of Arkansas’ interest in Phoenix. In late April, Arkansas’ board of regents voted against pursuing a Phoenix purchase.
- “All documents and communications” regarding the State Board’s May 18 meeting, when the board voted unanimously to greenlight the U of I’s $685 million bid to acquire Phoenix.
- Communications with the State Board involving the formation of NewU, the separate U of I nonprofit which would take over Phoenix’s operations. NewU has since been renamed Four Three Education.
Labrador’s legal team has also ordered Green — or a university official of his choosing — to appear at an Oct. 24 deposition.
The U of I didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday on the subpoena.
The latest subpoena and demand for a deposition come as the politically charged civil lawsuit continues to escalate.
The attorney general’s office has filed several similar requests with State Board members and staff, Phoenix, and Tyton Partners, the financial advisers working on a sale on Phoenix’s behalf. The State Board’s hired attorney has called the requests a burdensome “fishing expedition.”
Last week, Ada County District Judge Jason Scott instructed Labrador’s legal team to start by deposing only four State Board members, not the entire eight-person board.
A hearing in the lawsuit is scheduled for Oct. 26, and Scott could issue a ruling at that time.