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March 18, 2016

Judge Orders Ill. College Foundation to Release Records

An Illinois judge ruled Thursday that a foundation that raises and spends money on behalf of the College of DuPage must turn over a federal grand jury subpoena to the Chicago Tribune, the newspaper reports. The finding is believed to be the first in Illinois dealing with the disclosure of records held by a public college or university's nonprofit support organization, an issue that has been hotly debated in other states.

The Tribune sued last April to obtain documents under state freedom-of-information laws as part of an investigation of foundation-funded spending by administrators at the Chicago-area college. While it eventually provided some records, the nonprofit sought to withhold the grand-jury subpoena, arguing that it is not a state entity subject to open-records rules. DuPage County Judge Robert Gibson said that as the college's sole fundraising body, the foundation effectively conducts government business that comes under sunshine laws.