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Emblem for co-editor-in-chief, Jake Moore, reports that “Western Kentucky University paid NBA Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal, also known by his stage name ‘DJ Diesel,’ $130,000 for his pregame concert on South Lawn on Oct. 21.”…

“[R]ecords obtained by the Herald” confirm, among other things that WKU was to provide “all required hotel room accommodations at a five (5) star luxury ARTIST approved hotel” and a stage with a minimum 96 inch clearance, “because ‘Shaquille is very tall!!’”

Moore reports that the “hospitality section of O’Neal’s personal appearance contract has been fully redacted.” WKU asserts that “the information is ‘considered proprietary and is redacted pursuant to KRS 61.878(1)(c).’”

If this was the full citation the university identified, WKU relied on a nonexistent citation. The correct legal citation is, in fact, KRS 61.878(1)(c)1. or KRS 61.878(1)(c)2.a., b.,c., or d.

KRS 61.878(1)(c)1. authorizes nondisclosure of records “confidentially disclosed to an agency, or required by an agency to be disclosed to it, generally recognized as confidential or proprietary, which if openly disclosed would permit an unfair commercial advantage to competitors of the entity that disclosed the records.” 

It’s possible that multiple universities (competitors) are vying for Shaq’s DJ services, but the terms of a contract are not “records confidentially disclosed” to a public agency. Moreover, “hospitality services” are unlikely to rise to the level of a “trade secret” the disclosure of which is authorized under the exception, and WKU appears to have offered little to meet its statutory burden of proving that the partial denial was justified under the miscited exception per KRS 61.880(2)(c).


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