In pre-Christmas news dump, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem issued an opinion finding that an North Dakota State University spin-off corporation – NDSU Research Park Ventures, LLC – had violated open records laws when they denied a request from a SAB reader regarding a contract discussion.
The AG’s office ordered the contract released, and it was last week. It turns out the contract was for an advisory position with state Senator Tony Grindberg paying him $28,800 through 2018 for advisement. It was claimed that this contract wasn’t public record because the company isn’t a public entity (even though it was created by a public entity to expressly benefit a public entity), which is a claim that’s hard to believe when you consider that the contract was signed by NDSU President Dean Bresciani.
Senator Grindberg, SAB readers will remember, used to work for the NDSU Technology and Research Park (one of North Dakota’s university-based “Centers of Excellence”) where he was allowed to double-dip on his salary and expense fancy meals, top-shelf booze and even his country club membership to his employer.
The arrangement bought an influential state Senator for NDSU, and allowed Grindberg to enjoy big pay and cushy perks (not at all unlike fellow Fargo-area state Senator Tim Flakoll). I guess Bresciani and the other folks involved with the LLC didn’t want the public knowing there would be a continuing financial arrangement with Senator Grindberg, albeit a far diminished one from what he previously enjoyed.
Regardless, just another attempt to keep the taxpayers in the dark about the activities of public institutions, and public officials, operating under the ruse of being private enterprise.