The Pocono News has won a partial victory in its quest for records of the East Stroudsburg University Foundation under the re-vamped Pennsylvania Sunshine Law.
The ESU Foundation is nominally a private, non-profit corporation. However, as the newspaper argued, “…the foundation, which raises money and administers scholarships on behalf of the university, acted as a third-party contractor performing a governmental function. Under the new law, records pertaining to the completing of a public function are to be made public.”
The ESU Foundation, and ESU, argued that:
- The ESU Foundation is not a public entity that falls under the provisions of the law.
- The work performed by the ESU Foundation is not an essential government function.
The decision in favor of some disclosure comes from the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records. Their ruling is an administrative decision and it can, and probably will, be appealed to a Pennsylvania court within 30 days.