UI reaches settlement in lawsuit over 2015 presidential search

UI reaches settlement in lawsuit over 2015 presidential search
AP/KCJJ Staff
09/13/18

The University of Iowa has agreed to pay $55,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging its 2015 presidential search violated open meetings laws.

The UI doesn’t admit any violations in the settlement, which was made public on Wednesday.

The lawsuit originally filed by former UI professor Harrold Hammond was one of two related to the search that ended in the hiring of Bruce Harreld as president. Hammond filed suit in 2015, claiming the 23-member search committee violated the open meetings law by meeting outside the state of Iowa and by hosting closed meetings during the search.

The committee had claimed it was more convenient to meet with the then nine candidates near O’Hare International Airport near Chicago.

Hammond died in 2016 and the suit was picked up by retired UI professor John Menninger. A judge initially denied an attempt by Hammond’s estate to transfer the case to Menninger, but he filed a new suit in April 2017 mirroring Hammond’s original suit.

As a result of the settlement, attorney Greg Geerdes, who represented both Hammond and Menninger, will be paid $55,000 in legal fees.

Former UI administrator Gerhild Krapf had also filed a suit related to the search, claiming the Regents broke the open meetings law when they met with Harreld two at a time prior to his even applying. However, a judge last October ruled the Regents violated no rules and dismissed the suit.