Day two of MU - Beagle Freedom Project trial continues
COLUMBIA – Day two of the MU-Beagle Freedom Project continued today in Boone County Circuit Court.
Money is at the center of the case. The Beagle Freedom Project (BFP) said MU asked for too much money a few years back when it asked for some records. The price tag was about $82,000.
MU reduced the amount needed to get the animal records requested by the Beagle Freedom Project to $50 per animal last month. That came to about $9,000. However, BFP is now asking for that fee to be waived.
MU said the reason it reduced that cost from over $80,000 to just under $9,000 was because the original amount of documents requested was different than what BFP had originally asked for.
However, the attorney for BFP, Dan Kolde, said he’s not sure where they got that.
“That’s just inaccurate. We never adjusted our request. We don’t know where that came from.”
Kolde said he hopes the public’s main take away from this trial is that no matter what, they have a right to public records.
“The public should have a right to public records of the governmental bodies and if they don’t get those records or the government tries to prevent them from getting those records they should go to court to fight for those records.”
Christian Basi, an MU spokesperson, told KOMU the school has to be responsible anytime it spends money regardless of the situation.
"So when we receive requests, no matter who they are from for public information the Sunshine Law allows us to recoup the cost of some of those requests," Basi said. "Especially when they require us or have a significant effect on our potential productivity."
The University of Missouri could be fined as much as $5,000 for the purposeful violation of the Missouri Sunshine Law.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story's been updated to add more context. The original story did not address MU's stance that it is responsive to state law and that the original price estimate was a reaction to the organization's request.