Judge Thomas Neville heard arguments today from attorneys representing Boise City and Clearview Cleaning in a public records request case in which the city has refused to provide certain documents.
After the City rescinded a $368,000 signed contract with Clearview Cleaning the night before the local firm was to begin work, owner Sylvia Hampel filed a public records request to find out why she lost the contract. The city refused to release the records which they admit are public records, but claim they are exempt from release.
In today’s action the City said records currently being held by the court–pending a written decision–reveal the names of people, groups of people, and certain crimes that are part of an “active police investigation.” They have offered to have a copper meet in private with the judge to explain the issues at stake. The City told the court, “The bad guys could potentially get away,” if information were made public.
The City’s attorney told the GUARDIAN there were “no city employees being investigated.”
Clearview’s lawyer asked the court to “Not allow the City to hide behind the veiled argument of an active police investigation.”
While the issue before the court is one of releasing certain public records, the bigger issue is the unexplained rescission of the signed contract and the award of a one yearcleaning contract to a losing bidder under a “piggyback bid” with the State of Idaho. The so-called piggy back law applies only to PERSONAL PROPERTY and does not include contracts for services which by their very nature are all different. It is a flimsy legal argument at best on the part of the city.
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