Sunshine and food for thought

Urban Hotel Group and Elm Street LLC wanted their proposal to the city of Greensboro for a downtown luxury hotel kept confidential, and their lawyer, Eric Pristell, drove a hard bargain with city legal. The city opted to release a redacted version of the proposal despite this threat from Pristell to City Attorney Terry Wood on Jan. 21:

“I thought about our conversation this afternoon. If I were in your position, I would choose not to disclose the un-redacted version of my client’s proposal to the public. The fundamental reason is that if the public decides to sue and you lose, your damages will be significantly lower than if you released the document and my client sued. Our damages, if proven, would be substantial. Food for thought.”

UPDATE: HT to News & Record reporter Amanda Lehmert for tackling this at the beginning of the week.


Roch101 said...

State law does allow for the protection of "trade secrets." As much as I think the City overreaches in keeping information from the public, this one appears to be justifiable, if not justified.

Jordan Green said...

City Attorney Terry Woods states in response to the hotel group On Jan. 14: "Upon quick review of the proposal my inclination is that tax ID numbers are not public and much of the Business Plan, pp. 7-10 could be confidential, with the attachments. The rest of the proposal appears to be pretty ordinary information and would not fall under the definition of trade secret."

Much of the proposal is redacted — the business plan, I assume, along with the tax ID numbers. I haven't given serious thought to challenging the city's redactions, but I wonder what others think.

Samuel Spagnola said...

Hmm, might have to look into this one.

The arrogance of it rubs me the wrong way.