David Schick, former reporter for the Georgia Perimeter College newspaper, The Collegian, has recently filed suit against the Georgia Board of Regents.
He says it withheld financial documents related to budget shortcomings in 2012, specifically how Georgia
Perimeter College managed to amass a one-year deficit of $25 million.
Schick’s dealing with the Board of Regents and GPC began in May of 2012 when the deficit was first announced. Due to the severity of the deficit and the laying off of 282 individual employees,
Schick took it upon himself to investigate as his first big story as the Editor-Chief of The Collegian. He initially filed an open records request in July of 2012 with both the Board of Regents and GPC.
He initially received only three of the requested documents from the Board of Regents, and has yet to receive any documents from GPC. The fourth-requested document was for specific email conversations between individuals who would have known about the deficit.
In order to retrieve the documents the Board of Regents asked for $2,963, more than what should be needed to retrieve the emails, Schick said.
After consulting with lawyers, the Board of Regents reduced the price $300, which he paid. Then it took two months for the Board to actually release the documents. A second batch of emails came a month later.
According to Schick, the emails were retrieved in nearly the least efficient way possible. The emails were printed out and then rescanned to the same document. This also had the effect of making the documents impossible to efficiently search through.
After going through investigate as his first big story as the Editor-Chief all of the emails, Schick felt that some must have been missing. GPC still had not sent any emails.
The college had told him that he would have to pay a fee of $900 to receive the requested documents.
Schick and his lawyers made a counter offer but never received any more information. After going several months with no word, Schick finally decided to file a lawsuit on June 10, 2013.
In an interview on July 9, Schick said he felt like the school had tried to delay him until graduation, and that officials may have been hoping he’d drop the story after he left the school, but he did not. The case is currently being handled by attorney Daniel Levitas, of law firm Burdine and Brown.