Calif. University Appeals Investments Disclosure Case

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The Regents of the University of California March 21 asked the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, to review a lower court decision concluding that the Regents was required under the state Public Records Act to publicly disclose performance information about venture capital funds in which it invested (Regents of University of California v. Superior Court of Alameda County , Cal. Ct. App., No. A138136, 3/21/13).

In a release, University of California General Counsel Charles Robinson argued that the lower court ruling “rewrites” the Public Records Act “in support of commercial interests.”

“If the trial court's unilateral rewriting of the California Public Records Act is allowed to stand, no one who does business with the government can be assured that otherwise confidential documents--unused and unseen by the government--will not be released to competitors or opportunists,” Robinson said. “This unprecedented, unsupportable exercise of judicial legislation with far-reaching consequences must be reversed.”

The California Superior Court's Feb. 4 novel ruling involved the interpretation of California's Government Code Section 6254.26, a regulation clarifying public entities' disclosure obligations regarding their investments in alternative investment vehicles (27 SLD, 2/8/13). The court concluded that pursuant to the provision, the Regents must disclose certain information sought by Reuters America LLC for individual alternative investment vehicles--including current net asset values, and aggregate time-weighted returns--held by the board that were offered by venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

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