Board of Trustees Discuss ‘Ongoing Litigation’ in Closed Call

Florida A&M’s Board of Trustees held a closed, call-in meeting on Sept. 19 to discuss ongoing litigation.

Article 286.011 Chapter 8 of the Florida Statutes and Articles 5.11 and 5.12 of the Board of Trustees operating procedures grants FAMU’s Board of Trustees the right to hold closed meetings to strategize with an attorney about pending litigation before a federal court.

The attorney-client portion of the meeting can only be used to discuss settlement negotiations, and a strategy session related to litigation expenditures. Avery McKnight, counsel for the board, said the board is not allowed to make any final decisions or take actions during the attorney-client session.

“Final decisions must be voted on in the Sunshine,” McKnight said.

The meeting began at 2:25 p.m. after a roll call of the trustees. Seven members were in attendance, Solomon Badger, chair, Karl White, Torey Alston, William Jennings, Rufus Montgomery, Marjorie Turnbull and Faculty Senate President Narayan Persaud.

After a briefing by the attorney, the BOT entered into the attorney-client portion of the meeting. After concluding the attorney-client session the BOT made a final vote. Trustee Jennings motioned that the BOT authorize the legal team to enter into negotiations consistent with the attorney-client session. The motion was seconded by White and then the board unanimously agreed to proceed with the motion.

University officials still cannot make comments on the ongoing litigation.

“In light of Florida Statutory 1012.91, paragraph two, the university is unable to provide any comment,” said Pamela Tolson, director of media relations, responded by email.

The attorney-client session was recorded by a certified court reporter who was in Lee Hall. The transcript will become a part of public record after being filed with the university clerk.

“No part of the session can be off the record,” said McKnight.