Follow up on pricey public records request in Corpus Christi

By Rick Spruill
Originally published June 23, 2015
CORPUS CHRISTI – This is a Six Investigates follow up on Del Mar College, where a man’s fight for information about the college’s finances is getting noticed by some powerful open-government advocates.Accountant Ed Bennett got sticker shock last year when Del Mar College asked him to pay almost 27-million dollars for an open records request.

Bennett is digging in to whether the college wrote-off debts it could and should have collected and then misled the public about it. “I assume, based on the 26-point-7 million dollar quote that they’re trying to get me to go away. Rick, that simply isn’t going to happen.”

The college later backed off on the eight-figure quote saying it was a “mathematical error” and publicly met with Bennett to clear the air.

But, he says they’ve never fully complied with his request.

We’re talking about information, and information that a lot of us probably wouldn’t understand if it was laid in front of us. Bennett says, it’s very important because as the college continues to grow, their transparency, their honest, and their willingness to work with people who want information is going to be key to their long term success.

Now, the Texas Freedom of Information Foundation is offering to file a motion on Bennett’s behalf asking the Nueces County District Attorney’s Office to look into the matter.

“If the district attorney fails to act on it then we’re going to go to the Attorney General,” says Ed Bennett.

Del Mar Spokeswoman Claudia Jackson emailed Six Investigates that the college works hard to fulfill its obligations under the Texas Public Information Act and that it is “unaware of any unfulfilled requests” from Ed Bennett.