Monday, September 04, 2006

Today in Munitz Law

Barry Munitz's legal troubles don't seem to have ended with his departure from the Getty. The LA Times had a story this weekend about a lawsuit claiming that the California State University board of trustees illegally held a closed-door meeting to discuss his hiring earlier this year after his resignation from the Getty in February amid allegations that he misused Getty funds. (Munitz was chancellor of the CSU system from 1991 to 1998.)

The Times also reported Saturday that Getty officials had hired the LA law firm Munger Tolles & Olson to conduct a covert investigation of Munitz and other senior Getty officials last year (and for which Munger Tolles has billed the Getty more than $4 million). As part of his resignation, Munitz agreed to forgo more than $2 million in severance pay and return $250,000 to settle all claims. Among the things Munger Tolles looked at were the legal exposure of the Getty's trustees as Munitz's "bosses," and whether the Getty had grounds to invoke the "moral turpitude" clause to terminate his contract. According to the Times, "the records also show that the attorneys spent a substantial amount of time investigating Munitz's previously unreported use of Getty funds to advance the career of a German art student whom he hired as a 'senior advisor' and sponsored as an intern at another museum. They also reviewed his expenditures linked to a Russian researcher whose museum received a Getty grant." The Getty remains under investigation by the California attorney general.