BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama State Treasurer Young Boozer has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit Birmingham-Southern College has filed against him regarding a loan that was denied to them.
This motion, which was filed Monday, comes after BSC filed a lawsuit against Young Boozer for denying the college a loan earlier this month.
Under the Distressed Institutions of Higher Learning Revolving Loan Fund Act, signed in June by Governor Kay Ivey, Alabama colleges who meet certain criteria can take out loans to continue conducting business. The act established that the power to grant or deny a loan lies in the hands of the Alabama State Treasurer.
In December 2022, BSC President Daniel Coleman said that BSC had not been able to recover from the debt it took on from 2005 to 2010, resulting in a debt of $37.5 million.
Court documents state that Boozer began accepting loan applications on Aug. 24. Coleman said after they applied for a loan, they received a letter from Boozer denying BSC’s application, despite engaging in “good faith” discussions for months. The loan would have granted the institution $30 million.
“After several additional attempts … to get Treasurer Boozer to execute the will of the Alabama Legislature, we have no other choice but to seek remedy from the court,” Coleman stated in a press release last week.
However, Boozer’s motion stated that BSC is seeking to have the court “restrain an elected constitutional officer from exercising discretion explicitly granted him by law.”
The introduction to the motion to dismiss read as follows:
“The law does not say that the Treasurer ‘shall’ provide a loan to an applicant that meets the requirements,” the lawsuit states. “Rather, it says that ‘[t]he State Treasurer may, in his or her judgment, award a loan to any eligible institution that meets the requirements provided in this section.’ Id. at Sec. 2(e) (emphasis added).”
Court documents said Boozer disputes claims made in BSC’s lawsuit, namely that they met the requirements of the law, that he has a grudge against BSC and that he “has ever acted in bad faith, arbitrarily, or capriciously.”
Furthermore, court records stated that Boozer would show that even if BSC’s claims were true, the case would be barred by “sovereign immunity,” meaning that, in general, no one can sue the government without the government’s permission to do so. He added that the court “does not have jurisdiction to order the State Treasurer to enter into a contract and provide a loan.”
BSC is asking that Boozer loan the college $16 million “with more to come,” but sovereign immunity “bars this relief,” according to the motion to dismiss.
“Plaintiff is wrong on the facts, but this case is barred by sovereign immunity regardless,” the lawsuit stated. “This Court should thus dismiss this case.”
A hearing notice was filed on Thursday that states Young Boozer and BSC will meet on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. to further discuss the request for dismissal.