Gov. Bevin seeks to withdraw Beshear's motion to dismiss U of L board lawsuit, nullify his June appointments

01/14/2016 05:34 PM

Gov. Matt Bevin is looking to nullify appointments to the University of Louisville Board of Trustees made by his predecessor, agreeing with plaintiffs in a lawsuit that the panel lacks the required number of minority members.

Bevin, in a court filing released Thursday, suggests in response to a lawsuit by the Kentucky Justice Resource Center that relief could be gained by declaring the board’s racial makeup out of compliance with state law, nullifying Beshear’s June 26 appointments to the board and prohibiting trustees from taking any action until it’s in legal compliance.

Bevin’s general counsel, Stephen Pitt, tendered that response and motions to formally replace Gov. Steve Beshear as a defendant in the suit and pull Beshear’s motion to dismiss the case in Franklin Circuit Court. A hearing has been set for 9 a.m. Jan. 25.

The governor called the action “a necessary step” in resolving the matter.

“The racial minority representation is insufficient and will be corrected,” Bevin said in a statement. “… It is my intention to comply with the requirements set by law in making appointments, not only to the University of Louisville Board of Trustees, but to every board and commission.”

Former Attorney General Jack Conway’s office found that the board failed to meet the legal requirement on minority representation in a Sept. 29 opinion, which stated that at least two trustees must be minorities. Conway lost to Bevin in the Nov. 3 elections, with Beshear’s appointments becoming an issue late in the campaign.

Beshear later appointed William Summers IV, an African-American, to the U of L board on Oct. 21 after the resignation of former Trustee Steve Wilson in the wake of Conway’s opinion.

Bevin, however, contends in his court filings that the university should have at least three minority trustees on its board.

If a judge voids Beshear’s June 26 appointments, that would give Bevin three spots to fill on the 20-trustee board.

Bevin’s response to the Kentucky Justice Resource Center’s lawsuit can be viewed here: Bevin response to amended complaint.pdf

His motion to withdraw Beshear’s dismissal request can be viewed here: Bevin motion on dismissal.pdf


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