City Attorney: you are flouting state law

Ms Nickols: further to my immediate protest against the City’s withholding of a copy of the Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) hotel site analysis I now have legal advice to the effect that your action is almost certainly in contravention of the state Public Information Act. 

First the deliberative process privilege cited generally protects documents generated before a decision is made, so-called ‘pre-decisional’ materials, as opposed to post-decisional.

Since City decisions on sites were made several years ago and used to frame the terms of the RFP14-J procurement in 2014 the JLL analysis is now clearly post-decisional. Case law on this is cited toward the bottom of page 3-29 of the Maryland Public Information Act Manual.

http://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/OpenGov%20Documents/Chapter3.pdf

Second the burden under GP 4-344 is on the City to explain in detail the factual basis for withholding this particular document and you have not done that.

Third the City has waived any privilege by publicly citing the JLL analysis as supporting the choice of sites and by providing a copy to another outside party, namely the hotel developer Plamondon Hospitality Partners (Plamondon).  Jim Mills of Bates Architects appeared before the Historic Preservation Commission July 14th on behalf of Plamondon in case HPC17-490 seeking demolition of the Birely Tannery. In the materials submitted to the Commission in support of Plamondon’s case was a four page Memorandum dated June 15 and addressed to HPC staffer Lisa Murphy.

On page 2 of the Bates memorandum there is this:

“Each of the sites was evaluated by the consultant architect OPX as part of the initial market demand study to be appropriately sized to accommodate a 200-room full-service hotel and 15,000 to 20,000 square feet of meeting space. JLL also conducted a comprehensive criterion based analysis of the sites.

“Criteria:

— Catalyst for Downtown growth and revitalization;

— Developer feedback (site preferences based onJLL interviews);

— Ease of acquisition;

— Site size (to accommodate hotel program)[;

— Overall developability.

“Using these criteria, the subject site was ranked the highest of the four sites that were identified (Downtown Post Office property, Old Frederick News-Post property, Douglas Development McHenry’s/Union Mills property.)”

Please reconsider your position and release the JLL analysis.

Peter Samuel

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