Former Rep Elton Gallegly is suing CLU for over $ 1million he says he raised for it


Former Rep. Elton Gallegly sued the Lutheran University of California this week, alleging that it violated its contract to fully establish the Gallegly Center for Public Service and Civic Engagement on its Thousand Oaks campus.

Gallegly’s lawsuit in Ventura County Superior Court also alleges that the university has refused to account for funds he and his wife Janice raised for the center.

The trial does not specify how much was collected. But one of Gallegly’s attorneys, Charles Slyngstad, said Wednesday the former congressman maintains it was over $ 1 million.

“I’ve never sued anyone in my life, so I don’t take this step lightly,” Gallegly, a Republican from Simi Valley who served as Congressman from 1987 to 2013, said in a press release.

“But I feel like I have no choice but to force Cal Lutheran to abide by the agreement they sought with me to establish the Gallegly center and organize my papers and documents,” he said. declared. “Not just for me, but also for the donors who have given generously to make this happen.

CLU president Lori Varlotta and former CLU president are also named in the lawsuit. Chris Kimball.

Gallegly, a former mayor of Simi Valley, and according to the lawsuit the longest-serving congressional representative in Ventura County history, declined to comment further on Wednesday.

CLU spokeswoman Karin Grennan said on Tuesday that the university had not yet been served with the lawsuit and therefore also declined to comment.

According to the lawsuit, Kimball, then CLU president, spoke with Gallegly in 2011-12 about the university’s desire for him to donate its Congressional papers and related materials to the school.

In 2012, Stephen Wheatly, then CLU’s vice president, took a photo in Washington, DC of the Gallegly office, which years later led to the creation of an exact replica of the office at the Gallegly Center for Public Service and Civic Engagement at CLU’s Thousand Oaks campus, the costume says.

Later in 2012, Gallegly committed to Kimball and Wheatly to develop the center, according to the lawsuit.

In December 2012, Gallegly and Wheatly, who have since retired, signed an agreement under which Gallegly would file its papers and related documents with the university, the lawsuit said. A related “gift” agreement was signed by the parties in 2017, the lawsuit says.

In 2013, CLU authorized the collection of donations for elements of the Gallegly Center, including public service scholarships for students in coordination with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in nearby Simi Valley, a distinguished speakers’ forum and the Project archives and collection center for the management of its papers, according to the lawsuit.

The Galleglys then embarked on years of fundraising for the center, the lawsuit says.

CLU has completed construction of the Gallegly Center and the replica office, by May 2018, the costume says. It is located in the University’s Pearson Library.

But the university now intends to remove the replica office, Slyngstad said.

“This year, the university issued an ultimatum to Gallegly demanding that furniture, plaques and photos be removed,” the statement said.

Grennan said the school plans to remove the replica office to make room for the Gallegly archives.

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The school released a brochure after the center was built, again seeking donations for the scholarships, the archival project and the speaker series endowment, according to the lawsuit.

The university, however, has not developed these programs, according to the lawsuit.

“CLU did not develop the Gallegly Center programs…. And did not move forward with the Gallegly Center Archive and Collection Project,” the lawsuit alleges.

In addition, CLU “failed and refused to report or allow an audit of donations to CLU and expenditures made by CLU during the years that were for the benefit of the Gallegly Center and the programs described in the CLU brochures”, indicates the pursuit.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, the non-profit organization that raises funds to support special events at the Reagan Library & Museum, agreed in March 2020 to enter into a memorandum of understanding with CLU to work together on the Gallegly center, according to the lawsuit. But this memorandum of understanding “has been abandoned and its potential for collaboration has not been reached,” says the lawsuit.

Grennan, however, said a California-based archives, media and research firm was in the process of organizing and preserving Gallegly’s congressional documents.

She said the university also continues to fundraise for the scholarship program and is committed to revitalizing the speaker series.

“We are planning to host events related to the Fellows, Speaker Series, Public Service and Civic Engagement at the Gallegly Center,” she said.

The lawsuit seeks a court order directing CLU to maintain and protect the Gallegly Center and the Gallegly Replica Office. He is also seeking a court order requiring CLU and Varlotta to account for all funds donated to the center and all related expenses.

In the alternative, the lawsuit seeks financial damages to be determined later.

Mike Harris covers the county towns of Moorpark, Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks, as well as transportation throughout the county. You can contact him at [email protected] or 805-437-0323.

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