California Lutheran University has denied the claims made in a lawsuit filed recently by Elton Gallegly alleging that the Thousand Oaks school had breached a contract and refused to account for donated money, saying leadership is “disappointed” by the former congressman’s decision to pursue legal action. 


In a statement released Friday afternoon, the school maintains it has upheld the agreements made to the former representative of Ventura County regarding the development and maintenance of the Gallegly Center and its related programs, despite his claims to the contrary. In its statement, the university also said it “objects to any unfounded claim that calls into question our management of funds raised for this project."


“The university has coordinated several fundraising initiatives to support the facility and its programs. All donations to the Gallegly Center through the years have gone to support its functions. Cal Lutheran is a highly regulated nonprofit organization,” read the university statement, released Friday. “The university is required to undergo annual audits by an outside independent audit firm each fiscal year. These audits include review of donor funds. Cal Lutheran has received a clean audit for each year it has been in partnership with the former congressman.” 


The suit, filed last month, alleges the university breached its contract with Gallegly by failing to archive his library of documents or develop a speaker program for the center, and that officials had issued “an ultimatum” demanding he remove the replica display of his congressional office. It further alleges the school refused to account for $1 million donations raised for the namesake Gallegly Center for Public Service and Civic Engagement on its campus. 


The university’s statement, however, said the school has “fulfilled every obligation of the gift and deposit agreements that are associated with the Gallegly Center.” 


The archive of documents has been in development since this summer and will be available in early 2022, according to the university statement. The university also indicated the speaker program, which brought former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to speak at the dedication of the Gallegly Center in 2018, is being revamped, but acknowledged that the replica office is being removed.


“Cal Lutheran believes that Rep. Gallegly’s legal action is based largely on the university’s need to place the soon-to-be archived document collection in the alcove of the center where we had chosen to display his office replica for the last 3 ½ years,” read the Cal Lutheran statement. 

 

The archive of Gallegly’s documents, the university statement continued, needs to be housed in an easily accessible area for research purposes. The alcove where the replica office is currently displayed is ideal, given its three walls and windowless space. 

 

“Although we will no longer be able to display the office replica, the university will certainly meet its commitment in our agreement with former Rep. Gallegly to hold the furniture in storage in the library. We have also offered to return the furniture to him at our expense.”