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July 16, 2001
Welty To Tell All!
Save Mart Arena Donors List
Amy Williams, Staff Writer

    FRESNO STATE -- According to the California Appellate Court in Fresno, state law requires that Fresno State Administration open its records to public inspection. On Monday, the 5th District Court of Appeal in Fresno ordered President John Welty to disclose the purchaser's names and financial transaction records in the $103,000,000 Save Mart Arena "Privacy Suites Licenses".
     The McClatchy Company, doing business as the Fresno Bee, requested documents from the University, under the California Public Records Act , to obtain the names of the individuals and companies that purchased the luxury suites. Welty denied the request, and McClatchy filed a petition for a writ to force public disclosure. The court announced its ruling today.
     President, John Welty, Ed.D., released a press statement late today in which he wrote, "...people who leased luxury suites requested to remain anonymous ...." However, the people who purchased those leases will be paying the University $1.5 million per year.
    A drop in the bucket. This year, University finances are slightly less that $318,000,000 and Welty is seeking ways to augment the possible loss of income from a possible ban on alcohol sales on campus currently needed to finance the athletic program here.
    The Court summarized its ruling simply, "The time has come to disclose the requested documents..."
     The estimated cost of the Save Mart Center is approximately $103 million. The State of California contributed approximately $8 million for pre-planning and design costs and off-site improvements to the roads and freeways providing access to the site.
    The remainder of the funding is from private donations. Save Mart Supermarkets and Pepsi Bottling Group together pledged a $40 million sponsorship gift, payable over 20 years.
     The Save Mart Arena will feature 32 luxury suites available for use by purchasing a license. Each suite will have 18 seats, a private restroom, refrigerator, wet bar, television monitors and Internet access. The University has represented the suite licenses as confidential tax deductible charitable donations.
    The Appellate Court ruling on public disclosure of the names of the people, corporations and subcontractors who make financial contributors to the University is expected to result in a large deficit in Fresno State's curent and future fund-raising campaigns.

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