Former regent Gartner files second suit against IPR, cites different meeting

Both suits charge the Iowa Public Radio board violated Iowa code on meetings

Former regent Michael Gartner has filed a second lawsuit against Iowa Public Radio, naming some different defendants and focusing on a different closed-session meeting of the IPR board of directors.

Gartner, who served as board of regents president while a member of the board, filed the second lawsuit Thursday in Iowa District Court for Polk County. Gartner, of Des Moines, filed the first lawsuit against IPR on Tuesday. The first lawsuit deals with an IPR meeting in December, while the second lawsuit deals with an IPR closed session on Feb. 26, after which the board voted 6-1 to fire former chief executive officer Mary Grace Herrington.

Both suits charge the Iowa Public Radio board violated Iowa code by holding unlawful closed meetings, and ask that the court compel the board to comply with Iowa open meetings laws. The second lawsuit also asks the court to void all action taken during or as a result of the Feb. 26 closed session, including voiding the termination of Herrington's employment.

The second suit names four IPR board members, including Mark Braun, chief of staff to University of Iowa President Sally Mason who was appointed to the board in January.The state Board of Regents at a meeting next week will consider a renewal of the service operating agreement between Iowa Public Radio and the regents that includes a provision for IPR to conduct itself consistent with Iowa open meetings and open records laws.

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