DeVry Illinois OAG Subpoena

Robert Teel filed this request with the Illinois Attorney General of Illinois.
Tracking # 42267; 41899
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Robert Teel

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/1 to 11), I hereby request the following records:

Please provide all documents, information, materials, data, emails, and other responses produced by DeVry Education Group Inc. (“DeVry Group”) and or its affiliates to the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Illinois (“IOAG”) in response to that certain subpoena from the IOAG to DeVry Group concerning the potential state law implications in the event violations of federal law took place, and issued in April, 2013 pursuant to the Illinois False Claims Act in connection with an investigation concerning whether the compensation practices of DeVry and certain of its affiliates are in compliance with the Incentive Compensation Ban of the Higher Education Act which required DeVry to provide documents relating to these matters for periods on or after January 1, 2002.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public. If there are any fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Robert Teel

From: FOIAofficer

Dear Mr. Teel:

Your FOIA request was received by this office on Monday, May 16, 2016. Accordingly, we will provide the initial response to your FOIA request on Monday, May 23, 2016, in accordance with FOIA. 5 ILCS 140/3(3) (West 2014).

Very truly yours,

Caitlin Q. Knutte
FOIA Officer
Assistant Attorney General
Office of the Illinois Attorney General

From: Robert Teel

Thank you Caitlin.

Sincerely,
Robert Teel

From: FOIAofficer

Dear Mr. Teel:

Attached please find a letter and agreement pertaining to your recent FOIA request.

Very truly yours,

Lynn Kowalenko
Office of the Illinois Attorney General
Administrative Clerk, FOIA Office

E-MAIL CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This electronic mail message, including any attachments, is for the intended recipient(s) only. This e-mail and any attachments might contain information that is confidential, legally privileged or otherwise protected or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not a named recipient, or if you are named but believe that you received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately by telephone or return e-mail and promptly delete this e-mail and any attachments and copies thereof from your system. If you are not the intended recipient, please be aware that any copying, distribution, dissemination, disclosure or other use of this e-mail and any attachments is unauthorized and prohibited. Your receipt of this message is not intended to waive any applicable privilege or claim of confidentiality, and any prohibited or unauthorized disclosure is not binding on the sender or the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. Thank you for your cooperation.

From: FOIAofficer

Dear Mr. Teel:

Please contact me to discuss your FOIA request. My telephone number is 312-814-1493.

Very truly yours,

Caitlin Q. Knutte
FOIA Officer
Assistant Attorney General
Office of the Illinois Attorney General

From: Robert Teel

Thank you Caitlin. I will call you on Monday.

Sincerely,
Robert Teel

From: FOIAofficer

Dear Mr. Teel:

Attached please find a letter pertaining to your recent FOIA request.

Very truly yours,

Caitlin Q. Knutte
FOIA Officer
Assistant Attorney General
Office of the Illinois Attorney General

E-MAIL CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This electronic mail message, including any attachments, is for the intended recipient(s) only. This e-mail and any attachments might contain information that is confidential, legally privileged or otherwise protected or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not a named recipient, or if you are named but believe that you received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail and promptly delete this e-mail and any attachments and copies thereof from your system. If you are not the intended recipient, please be aware that any copying, distribution, dissemination, disclosure or other use of this e-mail and any attachments is unauthorized and prohibited. Your receipt of this message is not intended to waive any applicable privilege or claim of confidentiality, and any prohibited or unauthorized disclosure is not binding on the sender or the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. Thank you for your cooperation.

From: Robert Teel

Hello Caitlin,

It was good to speak with you last week. To summarize my understanding of where things stand. In short, the Illinois Attorney General (“IAG”) has denied my request in toto because it is too burdensome in that it will require an estimated 96 man hours to review and redact approximately 6,000 pages. The IAG has closed its file, but will respond to a new more limited request.

I respectfully disagree with the IAG’s opinion that production of the records is too burdensome to warrant a response of any kind other than a flat denial. As I’m sure you know, in 2009, Attorney General Lisa Madigan worked to effect key changes to the Illinois FOIA and OMA which took effect on January 1, 2010. The IAG then issued new guidelines on September 9, 2013 which, inter alia, defined, “What does unduly burdensome mean?” The IAG defined “unduly burdensome” as:

“A request may be considered unduly burdensome if there is no way to narrow the request, and the burden on the public body to produce the information outweighs the public interest in the information. However, before relying on this exemption, the public body must first give the requester an opportunity to reduce the request to a manageable size. If it is still unduly burdensome, the public body must explain in writing the reasons why the request is unduly burdensome and the extent to which compliance will burden the operations of the public body. Such a response is considered a denial.”

The public information requested involves the public’s interest in: (1) DeVry University’s potential violations of the Illinois Deceptive Business Practices Act (“ICFA”), 815 ILCS 505/1 et. seq.; and (2) the defense of of tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of borrowers of over $8 billion in student loans under Title IV and specifically their right to a defense for repayment under 20 U.S.C 1087e(h)1 and 34 CFR 685.206. If borrowers have a defense to repayment, and DeVry is unable to reimburse the government for such loans, the taxpayer will be on the hook for DeVry’s violations of applicable state law(s).

In short, the public interest in the information about not only the possible defenses available to DeVry’s student loan borrowers, but also the public taxpayer’s possible bail out for DeVry’s potential illegal conduct is of significant public interest. The fact that an estimated 96 hours will be required to review approximately 6,000 pages of documents is neither unduly burdensome, nor outweighs the public interest.

The IAG employs some 775 personnel in a variety of jobs with titles ranging from Temporary Employee – Assistant Attorney General I to Chief Deputy Attorney General. It would take five employees a little over two days to review and redact the requested materials. I don’t understand from your letter how this would burden the operations of the IAG’s office.

In addition, if in factthe IAG has closed its file and wants me to submit a new and different request, I have not been afforded the opportunity to reduce this request to what the IAG might consider a more management size. Accordingly, please consider this as the undersigned’s request for you to reconsider your response to “closing [your] file.”

As an accommodation to avoid needless resort to legal process in connection with the request, and without waiving any appeal or other rights or remedies the undersigned may have in connection with the IAG’s response, please consider this modification to initially narrow the request per your letter and please do not close your file.

Please provide all documents, information, materials, data, emails, and other responses produced by DeVry Education Group Inc. (“DeVry” or DeVry Group”) and or its affiliates to the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Illinois (“IOAG”) in response to that certain subpoena from the IOAG to DeVry Group concerning the potential state law implications in the event violations of federal law took place, and issued in April, 2013 pursuant to the Illinois False Claims Act in connection with:

(1) The DeVry Training Manual, Workbooks, and Guidance;

(2) Internal Assessment of Title IV Compliance; and

(3) HR Training on Title IV Compliance.

Thank you for your consideration. Nothing set forth herein or in connection with the modification of the request shall be considered a waiver of any of the undersigned rights or remedies in connection with the request. All such rights and remedies are hereby expressly reserved.

Sincerely,
Robert Teel

From: FOIAofficer

Dear Mr. Teel:

Attached please find a letter pertaining to your recent FOIA request.

Very truly yours,

Caitlin Q. Knutte
FOIA Officer
Assistant Attorney General
Office of the Illinois Attorney General

E-MAIL CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This electronic mail message, including any attachments, is for the intended recipient(s) only. This e-mail and any attachments might contain information that is confidential, legally privileged or otherwise protected or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not a named recipient, or if you are named but believe that you received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail and promptly delete this e-mail and any attachments and copies thereof from your system. If you are not the intended recipient, please be aware that any copying, distribution, dissemination, disclosure or other use of this e-mail and any attachments is unauthorized and prohibited. Your receipt of this message is not intended to waive any applicable privilege or claim of confidentiality, and any prohibited or unauthorized disclosure is not binding on the sender or the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. Thank you for your cooperation.

From: Robert Teel

Thank you Caitlin. Have a good weekend.

Sincerely,
Robert Teel

From: FOIAofficer

Dear Mr. Teel:

Attached please find a letter pertaining to your recent FOIA request.

Very truly yours,

Caitlin Q. Knutte
FOIA Officer
Assistant Attorney General
Office of the Illinois Attorney General

E-MAIL CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This electronic mail message, including any attachments, is for the intended recipient(s) only. This e-mail and any attachments might contain information that is confidential, legally privileged or otherwise protected or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not a named recipient, or if you are named but believe that you received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail and promptly delete this e-mail and any attachments and copies thereof from your system. If you are not the intended recipient, please be aware that any copying, distribution, dissemination, disclosure or other use of this e-mail and any attachments is unauthorized and prohibited. Your receipt of this message is not intended to waive any applicable privilege or claim of confidentiality, and any prohibited or unauthorized disclosure is not binding on the sender or the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. Thank you for your cooperation.

From: Robert Teel

Dear Caitlan,

Thank you for your reply. I have read the cases you cited. I can’t imagine you will be surprised that I find National Ass’n of Criminal Defense Lawyers v. Chicago Police to be more on point then Shehadeh v. Madigan based on, without limitation, the following.

1. The instant request does not require your office to locate any records. To the contrary, the requested materials are already identified, organized, and categorized.

2. Unlike the NACDL case (where the agency failed demonstrate the request was burdensome), the instant request does not require “weeks of full-time work by [CPD] personnel who need to possess a high level of knowledge and sophistication” to review for confidentiality concerns. Some documents have already been designated as “Confidential Information” and are thus easily identifiable and describable without disclosing the substance. The rest, by definition, are not subject to confidentiality concerns, do not require review at all, and should be immediately provided.

3. The cases you cited are not only quantitatively different (in Shehadeh 9,200 pages versus 5,900 here, and in NACDL several weeks versus 98 hours), but also involve different means, methodology, and criteria for the requests. The instant request is targeted, easily identifiable, does not require a search, and is highly relevant to a determination of whether DeVry Education Group, Inc. and/or its affiliates such as DeVry University have violated applicable state and federal law.

4. I understand your office has the following categories of materials provided by DeVry:

A. Program Participation Agreement – State and Federal
B. Job Description Compensation Plans
C. Factors used to determine employee compensation
D. Description of Internal Awards for Performance Based Bonuses
E. DeVry Training Material, Workbooks, and Guidance
F. Employee Performance Evaluations
G. Internal Assessment of Title IV Compliance
H. HR Training on Title IV Compliance
I. Consumer Complaints

The narrowing of my prior request from nine categories down to three in response to your denial did not seem to reduce the burden you cited as comprising 96 man hours to review 5,900 pages of material. I don't understand how the number of documents, and man hours required to review them, could not be materially and proportionately reduced by the elimination of over two-thirds of the request.

Based on the foregoing, I don’t entirely understand your position on 5 ILCS 140/3(g), but I am willing to continue a dialogue to attempt to further reduce any burden on your office. It’s possible I may not need access to every document in each of your files (for example publicly available Securities & Exchange filings will not be helpful for the purpose of my request to the extent they are wholly duplicative of the public record). However, to engage in a meaningful dialogue, I will need more identifying information about the specific materials you have and your willingness or objection(s) to provide them.

Therefore, once again as an accommodation to avoid needless resort to legal process, and without waiving any appeal or other rights or remedies the undersigned may have in connection with your response, please consider this modification to further narrow the request per your letters to non-Confidential Information.

Please provide all documents, information, materials, data, emails, and other responses that are not designated as Confidential Information under that certain “Agreement as to Confidential Information” dated May 2, 2013 by and between Lisa Madigan as Attorney General of Illinois and DeVry, Inc. and produced by DeVry Education Group Inc. (“DeVry” or DeVry Group”) and or its affiliates to the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Illinois (“IOAG”) in response to that certain subpoena from the IOAG to DeVry Group concerning the potential state law implications in the event violations of federal law took place, and issued in April, 2013 pursuant to the Illinois False Claims Act in connection with:

(1) The DeVry Training Manual, Workbooks, and Guidance;
(2) Internal Assessment of Title IV Compliance; and
(3) HR Training on Title IV Compliance.

Thank you for your consideration. Nothing set forth herein or in connection with the modification of the request shall be considered a waiver of any of the undersigned rights or remedies in connection with the request. All such rights and remedies are hereby expressly reserved.

Sincerely,
Robert Teel

From: FOIAofficer

Dear Mr. Teel:

Please contact me to discuss your FOIA request. My telephone number is 312-814-1493.

Very truly yours,

Caitlin Q. Knutte
FOIA Officer
Assistant Attorney General
Office of the Illinois Attorney General

From: Robert Teel

Thank you Caitlin, I will call on July 5th.

Sincerely,
Robert Teel

From: FOIAofficer

Dear Mr. Teel:

Attached please find a letter pertaining to your recent FOIA Request.

Very truly yours,

Caitlin Q. Knutte
FOIA Officer
Assistant Attorney General
Office of the Illinois Attorney General

E-MAIL CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This electronic mail message, including any attachments, is for the intended recipient(s) only. This e-mail and any attachments might contain information that is confidential, legally privileged or otherwise protected or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not a named recipient, or if you are named but believe that you received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail and promptly delete this e-mail and any attachments and copies thereof from your system. If you are not the intended recipient, please be aware that any copying, distribution, dissemination, disclosure or other use of this e-mail and any attachments is unauthorized and prohibited. Your receipt of this message is not intended to waive any applicable privilege or claim of confidentiality, and any prohibited or unauthorized disclosure is not binding on the sender or the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. Thank you for your cooperation.

From: FOIAofficer

Dear Mr. Teel:

Attached please find a letter and records pertaining to your recent FOIA request.

Very truly yours,

Caitlin Q. Knutte
FOIA Officer
Assistant Attorney General
Office of the Illinois Attorney General

E-MAIL CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This electronic mail message, including any attachments, is for the intended recipient(s) only. This e-mail and any attachments might contain information that is confidential, legally privileged or otherwise protected or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not a named recipient, or if you are named but believe that you received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail and promptly delete this e-mail and any attachments and copies thereof from your system. If you are not the intended recipient, please be aware that any copying, distribution, dissemination, disclosure or other use of this e-mail and any attachments is unauthorized and prohibited. Your receipt of this message is not intended to waive any applicable privilege or claim of confidentiality, and any prohibited or unauthorized disclosure is not binding on the sender or the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. Thank you for your cooperation.

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