The city got into the 101 Ash Street mess because elected officials either did not have all the facts, did not read all the documents, did not understand the consequences and implications of the documents, or did not get good legal advice. We must not make the same mistake again.
I was the first elected official to propose suspending lease payments. That will remain my position until all the pertinent facts have been made public, until the city is getting good legal advice on how best to move forward, and until the taxpayers are protected.
I voted “no” in closed session because the City Attorney is not being fully transparent, has personal political motives for covering up what actually transpired, and is not telling the Council everything a decision-maker should know in order to make the best decision for taxpayers, which includes public review of all the relevant documents.
If the complete public disclosure of documents related to this transaction shows misconduct by city officials, that would render the lease unenforceable and the taxpayers would be the beneficiaries. The sooner the misconduct is known, the sooner the litigation will come to an end and the taxpayers will stop incurring litigation-related expenses.
The only beneficiaries of the misconduct are the public officials who committed it, which explains their insistence on secrecy. The private lawyers are looking to delay a resolution so they can run up their bills. And if the documents show there was no misconduct, then the public should know that, too. Either way, the beneficiaries of full transparency, no matter what the documents show, are the taxpayers.
Unless and until the City Attorney provides the City Council with all legal memos, supporting documents, and other information essential to responsible, reasoned decision-making, I will continue to vote “no.”
Read the article on the UT HERE.