Richardson's attorney demands records

Saturday, March 9, 2002

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Former Arkansas basketball coach Nolan Richardson did not meet a Friday deadline to provide information for a review of his dismissal, the university said.

"I don't know what's going to happen next," university spokesman Jay Nichols said.

The university had given Richardson until 5 p.m. Friday to submit in writing information that he wanted President Alan Sugg to consider in reviewing the decision to buy out the remaining six years of the coach's contract.

Instead, the university released letters in which Richardson lawyer John Walker requested a multitude of university documents under the state Freedom of Information Act. He asked that the records be made available as soon as 4 p.m. Monday.

Walker has said he would ask Sugg to review the termination of Richardson's contract when his appeal is ready -- even if it's after the school-imposed deadline.

The review sought by Richardson is seen as a prerequisite for possible legal action against the university.

Walker sought, among other things, contractual, financial, personnel and other records, including a copy of Richardson's personnel file and all communications regarding Richardson between university officials and others, including the president of the Arkansas Razorback Foundation.

Richardson's seven-year, $1.03 million a year contract, which was terminated March 1, does not mention specific deadlines beyond saying "time is of the essence in all respects concerning this agreement."

Walker was in court Friday and did not return calls seeking comment. His office said the lawyer might send another letter to the university, saying the appeal was still being prepared.

That is what Walker did Monday after Chancellor John White initially said Richardson had only until noon that day to seek a review.

School lawyer Fred Harrison acknowledged in a letter to Walker on Tuesday that there was no specific deadline for Richardson to appeal but cited the "time is of the essence" clause.

Arkansas bought out the remaining six years of Richardson's contract at $500,000 per year.

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