CJ Griffin Quoted in TAPInto Newark Article, “Newark School District Spent Thousands to Keep Settlement Secret, Then Lost”

TAPInto Newark

CJ Griffin, partner and director of the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden P.C., was recently quoted in a TAPInto Newark article titled, “Newark School District Spent Thousands to Keep Settlement Secret, Then Lost.” The article discusses how the Newark Board of Education paid attorneys $54,520 in a failed attempt to keep secret its contract with a developer to build a museum at a school that it had sold years ago.

There was no legal support for the district’s position that this settlement agreement was somehow attorney-client privileged or otherwise confidential. The Supreme Court decided long ago that such agreements are subject to OPRA. But it took a court battle to get it, and now we can see why the district wanted to keep it confidential: the developer got a questionable $4.5 million development deal via a settlement agreement rather than public bidding,” said CJ Griffin, who represents TAPinto Newark.

Griffin said the legal fees could have been avoided.

This OPRA request could have cost the district zero dollars had the district just fulfilled the request. Instead, it’s wasted so much taxpayer money trying to keep the public from seeing it,” she said.

Agencies will just get away with their denials because it’ll be very hard to bring these suits without a mandatory fee-shifting provision. The public will be kept in the dark as a result and agencies will engage in even more questionable deals like this,” said Griffin.

To read the full article, click here.


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