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December 17, 2021

Request: Did Horse Race North Dakota violate the open meetings laws by failing to provide proper public notice of its meetings and by holding additional meetings without providing any public notice? Did it violate the open records laws when it responded to a request for records?

Conclusion:   Horse Race North Dakota is a non-profit corporation which receives grants from the State of North Dakota and is supported, in part, by public funds. To the extent Horse Race North Dakota is supported by public funds, it is a public entity subject to the open records and meetings laws. In July, 2021, the Fargo Forum requested to receive notices of meetings of Horse Race North Dakota. A meeting notice for the regular meeting on August 26, 2021, which was held remotely, was posted on Horse Race North Dakota’s website but not sent to the Forum. In addition, the meeting notice did not include an agenda or the information necessary to join the remotely held meeting. Based on the multiple deficiencies in the notice and how it was posted, Horse Race North Dakota failed to provide proper notice of its August 26, 2021 meeting.

Although, at times, a quorum of board members were in attendance at the race events in July, 2021, the members did not meet as a board and were otherwise involved with racing activities.

The board received a request for records of its 2020 and 2021 meetings from the Forum on July 30, 2021. Copies of 2020 records were provided the same day, and the remaining records were provided within a week of the request. The records were provided within a reasonable time.

Opinion: 2021-O-12

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