UT gives reasons for keeping Garcia Marquez archive price secret

In a new letter to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the University of Texas argues that the release of the purchase price of the recently acquired archive of Latin American literary giant Gabriel Garcia Marquez should be kept secret because its disclosure would put the university’s Harry Ransom Center “at a disadvantage in negotiating advantageous prices on future acquisitions.”

“This is particularly true when the Center acquires the archive of a major figure for a substantial sum,” the letter says. “The release of that price information becomes a new benchmark by which future archives are valued.”

The American-Statesman and the Associated Press requested the price of the archive when the purchase was announced in November. In the past, the university has provided such information, and the resistance in the case of the Garcia Marquez archive is unusual. As reported in earlier stories, the price for the archive could well exceed $1 million.

The university also revealed Wednesday that it had erred in not informing Garcia Marquez’s widow of the requested information, and it asked the attorney general’s office to consider “any other arguments submitted by the third party regardless of our error.”

The attorney general’s office is expected to make a ruling on the request in early 2015.


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