Saturday, July 29, 2017

Ole Miss: $25,100 for Freeze phone records

 Former Ole Miss Head Football Coach Houston Nutt is trying to get all of former Head Football Coach Hugh Freeze's phone records from their former employer.  Mr. Nutt filed a public records request for all phone records for all numbers assigned to Mr. Freeze since June 2012.  However, Ole Miss claims it will cost $25,100 to produce the records.  

Houston Nutt attorney Tom Mars submitted this request to Ole Miss on July 18, 2017:


Pursuant to the Mississippi Public Records Act, I am requesting copies of all university phone records that reflect every call to or from the cell and landline numbers assigned to Coach Freeze from June 2012 through the present.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Tom M
Ole Miss replied on July 26:

Please consider this email the University of Mississippi's ("UM") initial response and actual cost estimate regarding your public records request for:

"copies of all university phone records that reflect every call to or from the cell and landline numbers assigned to Coach Freeze from June 2012 through the present."

As you know, Mississippi law allows UM to recover the costs associated with searching, reviewing, duplicating, mailing, and redacting public records responsive to your request. Considering the scope of your request, the need for redacting exempt information, the fact we are in active litigation with your client, and the number of recent public records requests received by UM, outside counsel will be engaged to assist in handling this request. Based on the preceding reasons, please consider this email notification that UM is unable to provide the requested documents within seven working days from the receipt of your 7/18/2017 request.

Below is a preliminary estimate of the costs associated with providing you with records related to calls to or from Hugh Freeze's cell phone from June 2012 through the present. We are still determining the cost estimate for landline calls and will provide that to you shortly. Please note, this amount only constitutes an estimate. The actual amount may be reduced or increased based on the time spent on the search, review, redaction and duplication of responsive documents. If the amount is reduced, we will refund you the difference.

There are roughly 33,000 cell phone calls for the time period requested. Outside counsel estimates it will require roughly 190 hours to review, analyze, and redact the requested information. The rate for the lowest level employee capable of perming the task is $130.00 per hour. Thus, the costs associated with outside counsel's time is $24,700. Our office will be assisting outside counsel. The rate for the lowest level employee of performing the task is $40.00. We estimate it will require 10 hours of our time to assist outside counsel with responding to your request. Thus, the total amount of responding to the request is $25,100.

I will be happy to work with you in an effort to narrow the scope of your request to control cost. I hope you are willing to work with us on the deadline for releasing documents.

You should expect a response tomorrow regarding your other pending public records request.
Feel free to contact me with any questions. Thanks and take care.

Robert T. Jolly
Assistant General Counsel
The University of Mississippi
Office of General Counsel

Kingfish note: This will an interesting skirmish between Ole Miss and Houston Nutt.  The Mississippi Code states that state-issued cellphones can not be used for personal business.  Section 25-53-191 of the Mississippi Code states:

(1) (b) "State agency" means any agency, department, commission, board, bureau, institution or other instrumentality of the state.

(2)..... No officer or employee of any state agency to whom has been assigned, issued or made available the use of a wireless communication device, the cost of which is paid through the use of public funds, shall use such device for personal use.

 (5) The department shall promulgate a model acceptable use policy defining the appropriate use of all wireless communication devices. The acceptable use policy should specify that these resources, including both devices and services, are provided at the state agency's expense as tools for accomplishing the business missions of the state agency; that all those resources are for business use; and that more than incidental personal use of those resources is prohibited. The acceptable use policy should require that each official and employee issued one (1) of the above devices or authorized to access one (1) of the above services sign the policy and that the signed copy be placed in the personnel file of the official or employee. The acceptable use policy should also require that the use of these resources be tracked, verified and signed by the official or employee and the supervisor of the official or employee at each billing cycle or other appropriate interval. All state agencies shall adopt the model policy or adopt a policy that is, at minimum, as stringent as the model policy and shall provide a copy of the policy to the department.
 The Ethics Commission dealt with the question of whether text messages were public record in Ward v. Tupelo (2014).   The Mayor of Tupelo claimed that text messages on his personal phone were not public record when a reporter requested them.  Thus the Ethics Commission did not consider whether all phone logs or text messages on a government-issued cellphone were public record.  The Commission did state:

Text messages, similar to other electronic records, constitute documentary materials. The Act applies equally to paper and electronic records and provides that documentary materials are records “regardless of physical form or characteristics.” The Legislature has instructed  that  “[a]s  each  agency  increases  its  use  of  and  dependence  on  electronic record keeping, each agency must ensure reasonable access to records electronically, subject to the rules of record retention.
2.4      Mr. Ward’s public records request is inexact and broad in that it does not request a specific text message or even a category of text messages. Instead, the request broadly seeks all text messages sent by the mayor in his role as mayor for a specific time period. The City of Tupelo operates under the mayor-council form of government. The mayor serves as the chief executive officer of the city and is charged with supervising all departments of the municipality, as well as enforcing the charter and ordinances of the city. Notwithstanding the inexact and  broad nature of the request, text messages concerning city business that are sent by the mayor in his role as chief executive officer of the city qualify as public records subject to the Act. The city should direct the mayor to forward any responsive documents to the city for review and production.

2.5 The fact that text messages reside on the mayor’s personal cell phone is not determinative as to whether text messages must be produced.1 Rather, it is the purpose or use of the text message that is determinative. Any text message used by a city official “in the conduct, transaction or performance of any business, transaction, work, duty or function of [the city], or required to be maintained by [the city]” is a public record subject to the Act, regardless of where the record is stored. However, purely personal text messages having absolutely no relation to city business are not subject to production under the Act. Documents described by the city as “transitory communications” should be reviewed for production on a case-by-case basis. Any doubt about whether records should be disclosed should be resolved in favor of disclosure. Harrison County Development Commission v. Kinney, 920 So.2d 497, 502 (Miss. App. 2006).
The opinion thus deals with text messages stored on a personal cellphone.  Mr. Nutt faces an interesting question.  Does he file a complaint with the Ethics Commission and wait several months for an opinion or does he sue Ole Miss in Chancery Court for the phone logs?  Mr. Nutt will argue that no attorney is needed to redact any of the phone logs because they are all public records.  Ole Miss has obviously argued otherwise.

Stay tuned.  


Anonymous said...

Oboy. A lot of Old Miss folks/fans (past and present) seem to be living off of a tired old reputation of nothing....except Colonel Rebel owning the plantation, with nothing to show for their "pride" (in what?). A lot of voices are beginning to speak of MS State as the "flagship" school, because they appear to be getting it done in many areas without the false hubris. The Old Miss "family" is disgraceful for defending it. Many Mississippians are just plain tired of the arrogance permeating out of the Oxford plantation.

Anonymous said...

Why would these records need to be redacted -- communications on state-owned equipment should be available for public inspection.

I pull these kind of records all the time for my job and this is about a day-per-year job, even with 33,000 "transactions" - the carrier usually provides me with a CD of all the data in CSV format for easier analysis. The dollar amount they are quoting is bullshit and attempt to discourage transparency.

Anonymous said...

"A lot of voices are beginning to speak of MS State as the "flagship" school, because they appear to be getting it done in many areas without the false hubris".

HAHAHAHAAAHAAAAAA!!! Just like Oklahoma State is getting to be the flagship over U of Oklahoma or Texas A&M is getting to be the flagship over the U of Texas. Do you guys have 1...ONE...original thought in those pea brains of yours?!?!? All of the ag schools think that way and for that all I have to say is "dream on, little sister, dream on"!

Your inferiority shows everytime you try to get involved in something that has nothing to do with you or your jr. college. This is about Ole Miss and Ole Miss alone. Most state fans have become "mini-rosebowls" it appears! HILARIOUS and pitiful at the same time. Crawl back under your porch...till big brother calls you for your dog chow.

Anonymous said...

11:41 am

Been saying that forever.....well said.

The paradigm at OM has to change

It cannot be both proud of slavery and what that produced and a modern institution of learning.

Prob best to merge it with JSU

Anonymous said...

Why do they not cooperate? One would think Ole Miss would show some sense of guilt or embarrassment after being exposed for what they have done. There is no wonder this is the most disliked school in the country. The sense of false arrogance is sadly felt by many of the alumni. When making the changes which will be forced upon them, they might as well change the head job from CHANCELLOR to PRESIDENT.

Anonymous said...

11:41AM, do said "voices" include the Ledbetters and girls not pretty enough for the Ole Miss sororities (AOPi excluded)?? Ole Miss is and always will be the Harvard of the South. This does not affect that in any way.

Anonymous said...

These charges are totally reasonable, considering the witch hunt Nutt is on.

Anonymous said...

The Oxford arrogance is a simple manifestation of their insecurity. Which is the same as its racist roots. (i.e. If you're not "better than" others.....then what are you?)

Kingfish said...

One reader sent this comment:

had about enough of your ole miss bullshit xxxxxx. Pissing off bunch of your readers fyi. don't come here for lsu/msu bullshit. leave that to sports blogs and stick to jackson news. fucking asshole.

I wasn't aware we were practicing communism.

Anonymous said...

Harvard of the South? You have GOT to be kidding......they're churning out idiots left and right, but worse than that.....they're creating the next generation of corrupt, arrogant, rebel family members who believe "fall in line with the plantation, or get back in your cotton row".

Anonymous said...

33,000 phone calls?!!! Really?!!! I'm a businessman and I would have to have the phone GLUED to my ear to compare to that. Jut let me know what type of phone he has so I can get one. That is one hell of a battery. Not unless he keeps it on a solar charger strapped to his back while he is coaching. If that's the case, too much talking on the phone and not enough time coaching. And we have to pay for this. So, how many more State of Mississippi employees do this on our dime? Time for the Sate Auditor to step up and show he has a backbone.

Anonymous said...

I use to pull records like this all the time through our online account with AT&T. Just requires a little time to download and reformat in an Excel spreadsheet. Liars, liars, liars never win. This is the Ole Miss I've always known.

Anonymous said...

"I wasn't aware we were practicing communism"...

Hey Bo Boun...uhhh, Kingfish, no one wants you to practice communism. Most just want you to fair and impartial...of which you do not appear to be in any form or fashion. That's readily apparent.

But hey, that's your call for this your (msu) blog.

Anonymous said...

The Big Sister poster is always here to crow. Here's what every adult in the South knows. Fill in the blank with your land grant state: "Without a doubt, the biggest (anal sphincters) in ________, go to the University of _______." It's absolute truth. Now, OM AA degree holders, let's see what it doesn't say, too. It doesn't say that other schools don't have sphincters. Doesn't say that the Ivies don't have the same issue. Or near Ivies. It doesn't say everybody, or even most, of the kids and faculty at the University of Sphincters are sphincters. It just sums you up. The biggest sphincter. Same at UT, UTn, UVa, UA, etc. Think about, and realize it's true. Biggest orifice. Highest delusions of grandeur. The "finest" clothes. The "finest" food. The most drink. The "finest" parties. The "Grove." Tacky tents filled with hicks, teenyboppers dressed like streetwalkers, Beau all 'dressed up' in his vomit crusted blazer, Muffy all tanked up and Botoxed. And Bubba III all desperately searching for meaning other than fewtbawl and the leased Range Rover. BS degree awarded: Biggest Sphincter. Without a doubt.

'Can't wait to tell our side" said...

'56 T-birds and poodle skirts ain't coming back either. Rip off the band aid and end this madness. Another taxpayer-funded circus we can't afford.

Anonymous said...

@ 1207. What proof do you have that ole miss had ever been proud of slavery?

Anonymous said...

1:50 - For starters, their team is called the Rebels

Anonymous said...

$25,100... Hell, that's less than John Doe gave that one recruit. Maybe he'll cover it.

You gotta wonder how much they had to pay Eli to come to Oxford back in the day.

Anonymous said...

To 1:50....According to the 1860 Federal Census Slave Schedule, 118 slaves are listed as the property of the school's president and faculty of the University of Mississippi. Also, Unnamed slaves were hired out by local slaveholders to work on campus. Local slaveholders who hired out slaves to Ole Miss included Robert Sheegog, Jacob Thompson and J.E. Market. Many of the campus building built before the Civil War were constructed with slave labor. And, of course, there's the definition of "Ole Miss," a term slaves used to refer to the wife of a plantation owner.

Anon-E-Mouse said...

Ole Miss and their desire to retain traditions is an embarrassment to the state.

From an unwillingness to integrate, the riots, dead bodies, to Col. Reb, foam head, racist flags, sticks, songs, and more, they continue to fight to retain things that should be long forgotten. They are obstructing justice and if the university doesn't fire those involved, it should be shuttered.

Anonymous said...

1:50 pm

Your question indicates to me that no amount of reason or logic would assist you in understanding anything.

You are, in a word, vapid.

Best of luck to you.

Anonymous said...

33,000 phone calls...

33,000 missing emails...


Illuminati confirmed.

Anonymous said...

Nobody would be mad and the Ole Miss fan base wouldn't be defensive had that univerity simply obeyed the law and followed the rules. If Pastor Freeze would have practiced half of what he preaches this discussion would even be taking place. Unfortunately the arrogant alumni and fans think that Ole Miss is actually a competitive school with some sort of national recognition. The ONLY national recognition Ole Miss is known for is being racist and being lying cheaters. Academically it's on par with JSU and a notch below USM and MSU.

Ole Miss is sort of like Baylor, only not as ethical and with a worse athletic department.

Anonymous said...

Robert Jolley said, "Our office will be assisting outside counsel. The rate for the lowest level employee of performing the task is $40.00."

That equates to a rate of $81,600 annually for someone to make a copy of cell phone bills. My seven-year-old has the computer skills to do this. Can I sign her up at $81,600 per?

Anonymous said...

12:18 - with an acceptance rate North of 80%, Ole Miss can't be responsibly used in the same sentence as Harvard. And, if Ole Miss is considered the Harvard of the South - what does that say about the South??

someoneinnorthms said...

25-61-9 lists some categories of information that are confidential and therefore not subject to disclosure. While very little (if any) of Freeze's phone records would fall into that category, it is proper (and wise) for Ole Miss to review those.records to avoid disclosing records that are improper to disclose. Just because they are public records doesn't mean they must be disclosed.

Anonymous said...

This is their first go round with true accountability via a big giant media parade of naming and shaming, so I'll give the OM faithful a break.

*Oh, dear god--the irony of sewing the seeds of a legal culture ingratied into the minds of most of MS, turning everything into a matter of law, but
NOT being able to handle the heat when rays of sunshine, the best disinfectant, peak through the cloud of Rebel-Black Bear obfuscation.

Kingfish said...

Nice try, North. That is the code section dealing with trade secrets provided by third parties.

Not lists of phone numbers on government issued phones.

Anonymous said...

I say pay it! Let the law firm front the money and recover it later. They're going to win large and can recover their expenses. If not, Nutt has it in coffee cans all over the yard. Call the shit out of the OM bluff!!

Anonymous said...

I did not realize secretaries and office assistants make $130 an hour now.

someoneinnorthms said...

Kingfish, so you're saying there's no way a phone number can be confidential or otherwise legally protected under the law? I imagine there are a multitude of legal exemptions that could apply.

These phone numbers should be released automatically ONLY if there is NO exception that could conceivably apply. If there is an exception that MIGHT apply, then lawyers need to review them.

Anonymous said...

"Ole Miss is and always will be the Harvard of the South."

Funny, I've been to Harvard and MIT. Not once did I hear anyone proclaim that they attended the "Ole MIss" of the Northeast.

Anonymous said...

6:23 - just exactly what record of a phone call made by a state employee on a state issued cell phone should be exempt from a public record request?

You pose the question to KF - why don't you offer your suggestion as to what should be exempt under our law. Maybe those that are embarrassing because they will expose some degree of moral terpitude? Or maybe those that might expose some possible inappropriate recruiting activities? Those of a personal nature should not create any problem - unless of course the personal nature included 30 minute calls to set a haircut appointment, or a midnight hour long call to an employee - on several occasions. Not saying those type calls were made, but just because the would be embarrassing does not allow them to be exempt.

So you tell us - which ones do you think should be exempt and then lets check the statute and see if they can be found.

Anonymous said...

I believe that it was Robert Bork who asked, ""Why would anyone want to be called the Harvard of anything?"

Anonymous said...

In Roberts v. Mississippi Republican Party Executive Committee, 465 So. 2d 1050 (Miss. 1985), the Mississippi Republican Party made a request for access to the complete drivers license records contained on computer tape from the Commissioner of Public Safety, whose response demanded a fee of $75,000.00 based on a $250.00 run charge plus 5 cents per name for 1.7 million names. The Mississippi Republican Party tendered $500.00 for the reasonable actual cost of providing the records and then filed suit, arguing that it was required to pay no more than the actual cost of providing copies of the requested records. The Commissioner of Public Safety invoked a statute, §45-1-21, which authorizes the Department of Public Safety to furnish certain records and services and “collect for such services a proper fee, commensurate with the service rendered and the costs of such service for the furnishing of any record or abstract thereof....” The Mississippi Supreme Court reconciled the Public Records Act and the cited statute, holding that the latter statute “does not mandate that the Commissioner set the fee at a profit-making level. To the contrary, the fee can only be one which compensates or makes up for the actual cost of furnishing the records or the services provided.” Since there was no irreconcilable conflict between the two statues, the Court held that both statutes refer to the same thing, the actual cost of providing copies of the records.


Page 2 of 10.

Looks like the only palatable legal excuse for denial of records is if Freeze is prosecuted and any such release would deprive him of his const. rights.

Anonymous said...

Good read. Comments from Nutt's lawyer. He knows the law and exactly what he is doing. No doubt about it.

Anonymous said...

"Ole Miss is and always will be the Harvard of the South."

"Funny, I've been to Harvard and MIT. Not once did I hear anyone proclaim that they attended the "Ole MIss" of the Northeast."

Hey 6:54...we're all so glad that you have been to both of those highly esteemed campuses in the Northeast. My question is...with that msu degree you have, what were those campuses paying you to deliver pizzas? :D

Anonymous said...

7:04...Not saying those calls took place, but, if'n they had....

I saw what you did there.

Kingfish said...

Not so fast, North. You cited a code section. You were quite adamant about it. Now defend your assertion about that code section instead of jumping to another argument.

Anonymous said...

Make Freeze pay for the records. He caused all of this.

Anonymous said...

How do grown people get their personal identity confused with their college? It's as if their own self worth rises and falls with a group of regular people who happen to play football. Most of these fanatical fans have never played football and don't know the players on a personal level. I appreciate passionate people but anytime I see an adult who talks about how great their school is because of (name sports team) I look for the exit.

Colonel Ber said...

USNWR Best Colleges doesn't consider UM the "Harvard of the South." It's down there with MSU.

Anonymous said...

Thank you 12:55. This is entertainment; nothing more, nothing less. To tie one's identity to a bunch of kids who one doesn't know simply because they attend a school for which you have an affinity is nuts.

Anonymous said...

If any of the 85 scholar-athletes?? on any SEC school were ever in my home, I would want to count the silver and check to see if any little pieces were missing. That is my opinion of the character of 95%+ of those who are now representing our tax payer funded professional farm teams. As far as most coaches I would place them in the same category and the NOA seems to support that contention.

someoneinnorthms said...

Kingfish, you know it's been forever since I've been a government lawyer, so if you case names and such, I'll need extra time to conduct the research. However, the cited code section make an exception to the general disclosure requirement confidential commercial information. As I recall, this type of information includes the fact that negotiations had been undertaken at all. So, if Freeze called Abners to cater an event for the football team, that is theoretically "confidential commercial information" not subject to disclosure. I'm sure if I weren't sleepy and overworked I could come up with a better example. Regardless, Ole Miss is entitled to redact that phone call because it is confidential commercial communication. Of course, there are ways to challenge Ole Miss' determination that a phone call should be redacted. But whether a given phone call IS or it IS NOT confidential commercial communication is subject to review by lawyers.

Now, it's all a bullshit move by Ole Miss, I agree. However, they are just using the laws as they are written to their advantage. That's what lawyering is.

Now, having said that about the "specific code section" I say that there are probably stronger reasons that a phone call may be redacted other than the reasons codified in the "specific code section." I suppose I can look them up if necessary to y'all, but the larger point is that Ole Miss is entitled to review those records to determine if a legal reason exists to redact any phone call. It's the law. It's okay, even if it isn't seemly.

Anonymous said...

9:08 oh please. Ole Miss is not the CIA. If they want to review and redact information, they can't charge the one who is asking for said information to be redacted. They can only charge for the paper and ink it's printed on--- Or a hard drive in this case (even cheaper).
If they want to review, then let them review (they already have), but they can't charge another lawyer for that (overpriced) review.
They can try, but nope.
"We're going to overcharge you for cooked books and you're going to like it"----that's what they're doing. And I highly doubt they're looking at calls to Abners. With information technology to handle and classify each of these calls, they should know whether or not they should be calling the FBI right now or not.
As per "the law"---someone should have been reviewing those logs every month anyway and then signing off on them ( I bet that person is shitting a brick right now).

Anonymous said...

Ole miss has turned to nothing more than left wing liberals.

Anonymous said...

Is arranging for the transportation and/or appearance of whores across state lines considered a confidential commercial transaction, where telephone lines are used and vehicles are lined up with the notion that they also cross those boundaries? I hate to pose this question to a sleepy ex-gubment lawyer but he forced me to.

Kingfish said...

Name me an employer who doesn't have access to all of the phones logs on a company-issued phone?

Anonymous said...

We are down to 7 2018 commitments versus 19 for Ms State. What is going on and who is running our program?

Anonymous said...

"We are down to 7 2018 commitments...."

Keep your eyes open and you will see those 7 vanish.

Anonymous said...

lol a true the stupidity shown in these posts. Lol at state fans and lol at all the racist comments
Ignorance really is a problem in this country as shown by the evidence provided in the comment section. I guarantee none of you have actually looked into the investigation with any semblance of intelligence. You go with hearsay and rumor instead of actually reading the "allegations" yourself.

Anonymous said...

2:32 - You should know that you can't use "LOL" three times and the word intelligence in the same post. This is true in all cases but more so if you are using the word "intelligence" to some how insinuate that you have more of it than others. ROFLMAO

Anonymous said...

"Ole Miss is and always will be the Harvard of the South."


In the state of Mississippi alone Ole Miss (#308) is behind Millsaps (#305) according to Forbes.

You know "the south" is considered everything from Delaware to Texas, so like just south of Philly to El Paso. If Ole Miss was in the southern state of Virginia it wouldn't even crack the list of the top ten schools in the state. Now just add all the fancy schools in North Carolina, Tennessee, and whatnot and see just how far down the list of top schools in the south Ole Miss is.

Anonymous said...

9:08, you really think they paid Freeze $96,000 a week to negotiate the price of chicken finger platters with Abners?? And what does coaching a football team have to do with commerce, unless of course Freeze was negotiating kickbacks for equipment deals or looking for a volume discount from his pimp of choice.

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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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