9NEWS Investigators: LSU withheld numerous emails in WAFB records request

A.G. Monaco (Source: LSU.edu)
A.G. Monaco (Source: LSU.edu)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - LSU admits to withholding certain documents in responding to a WAFB public records request for emails from top LSU administrators including Human Resources Director A.G. Monaco.

While LSU refused to say how many emails were withheld, a source familiar with the situation says there were '"numerous" documents withheld "because LSU never wants you to see them."

The source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said numerous meetings were held at LSU to decide which emails to release to WAFB. The source said many of the withheld emails, if they were released, would make several high-ranking LSU officials look "really bad."

LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard issued a vague statement about the withheld emails.

LSU has provided all public records responsive under Louisiana law excepting certain documents which were withheld or redacted under the attorney-client privilege, federal law applicable to educational records, or the right to privacy recognized by the Louisiana Constitution.

LSU did not indicate in its initial public records response to WAFB Tuesday that any documents had been withheld and only acknowledged that fact when WAFB inquired about it Wednesday.

Louisiana law, La. R.S. 44:32(D) requires the custodian of the public record, in this case, LSU, to disclose why certain records were withheld or redacted.

"Such written notification shall contain a reference to the reasons therefor," the law says. "Such written notification shall contain a reference to the basis under law which the custodian has determined exempts a record, or any part thereof, from inspection, copying, or reproduction."

Monaco was placed on paid leave by LSU last week after WAFB filed a public records request for his emails after hearing Monaco frequently sent emails to colleagues that contained profanities or degrading language about fellow university employees and others.

Late Tuesday, the university released hundreds of Monaco's emails that showed that was indeed true.

After the emails were made public, LSU announced Monaco would remain on paid leave until July 1 and then retire from the university.

WAFB intends to continue efforts to ensure LSU follows the applicable law.

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