Open records show cost of ASU's legal fight against audit firm - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Open records show cost of ASU's legal fight against audit firm

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(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

An open records request filed by WSFA 12 News shows exactly how much money Alabama State University spent on legal fees to fight an audit by Forensic Strategic Solutions, or FSS, which alleged waste and wrongdoing against multiple ASU board members.

Records show the university spent a total of $318,098 hiring law firms to fight the audit in California Superior Court, where ASU lawyers said FSS had a substantial presence.

The suit claimed FSS issued a false and misleading report, "that was intended to interfere with the economic relationships between ASU and others..." and claimed Alabama has a, "long and ugly history of discrimination against its African American citizens and their institutions..." and that the state "has had a long history of allowing its historically white universities to be governed by independent boards of trustees."

FSS moved to quash the lawsuit in December and the court subsequently threw out the case ruling it did not have jurisdiction to hear the dispute.

The financial records request covers a time frame between October 1, 2013 and July 2014.

When asked if ASU will move forward with filing the lawsuit in a different jurisdiction or if it plans to take legal action against FSS in the future, the university told WSFA 12 News that decision would be made by the ASU Board when appropriate.

ASU's unsuccessful legal fight in California was costly and three firms benefited from the suit's filing. The money was divided between the firms of White, Arnold & Dowd; Whatley, Kallas L.L.P.; and Khorrami, Boucher, Sumner & Sanguine.

White, Arnold & Dowd received the bulk of the legal fees, making $224,617. Whatley, Kallas L.L.P. made $79,203 and Khorrami, Boucher, Sumner & Sanguine took the final $14,277 for its work.

FSS's preliminary audit was cited by the crediting agency Moody's in its downgrade of ASU's bond ratings, as well as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools when it issued a 6-month warning to the university. 

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