Opinion AGO 95-25.
|Case Date:||May 18, 1995|
Georgia Attorney General Opinions 1995. Opinion AGO 95-25. May 18, 1995OFFICIAL OPINION 1995-25To: Chancellor Board of Regents of the University System of GeorgiaRe: Regents may lease its lands in return for the endowment of a research chair if the endowment is equal to the fair market value of the lease and the term of the lease is reasonable.The Vice Chancellor for Facilities has requested a succinct explanation of the gratuities clause and in addition has asked whether Regents may lease its lands in return for the endowment of a research chair in a particular field. The Gratuities Clause The 1983 Georgia Constitution prohibits the General Assembly from granting any donation or gratuity and forgiving any debt. Ga. Const. 1983, Art. III, Sec. VI, Para. VI. The gratuities clause extends to departments of the state, specifically prohibiting them from granting any donation or gratuity in favor of any person, corporation, or association. 1957 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 246. In the real property context, this provision prohibits the state, including Regents, from conveying property, regardless of the form of the conveyance, for less than fair market value. 1971 Op. Att'y Gen. U71-17. There is no "gratuity" if a public grantor accepts in-kind consideration of equivalent value in lieu of money. In-kind consideration may take the form of a promise by the grantee to assist the grantor in performing its governmental mission. Smith v. Board of Commissioners, 244 Ga. 133 (1979). However, the acceptance of in-kind consideration has limitations partially discussed below. Lease in Return for Endowment You have asked whether Regents may lease its lands in exchange for the endowment of a research chair in a particular field. The Board is empowered by the Constitution to "accept . . . donations, grants, . . . and other property for the use of the University System of Georgia." Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VIII, Sec. IV, Para. I(e). The Constitution also empowers the Board to "lease, . . . or otherwise dispose of public property . . . and utilize the...
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