Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Judge Stitch: Secret document in Duke/Streetcar litigation stays secret

We have come to expect that our elected and appointed officials to lie to us regularly.  Candor and transparency is what has become unusual.  And they lie to us because disclosing the truth would mean rejection of their tax-and-spend policies, and their waste, fraud and corruption.

But to have a very public fight over the City's zeal to destroy a key document -- what appears to be a legal opinion undermining the City's very case in a piece of litigation involving what is certainly the public interest -- is still extraordinary.

The Enquirer here has the latest, and we hope not the final chapter, in the City fighting tooth and nail in the Courts to hide from its own citizens a "smoking gun" memo in the fight over who must pay the costs of electric and gas line relocation to accommodate the Cincinnati Streetcar construction.  The article provides information about the contents of the secret memo.  Both scenarios would explain why City Solicitor John Curp is bound and determined to destroy this key document.

City Councilman Christopher Smitherman said his request for the memo has been denied by City Solicitor John Curp. Smitherman said he thinks the memo “most likely” discloses the cost of utility relocation will be higher than $15 million.

Other streetcar critics have suggested the memo revealed a city lawyer did not expect the city could win the case.
If COAST's assessment of the content of that document is correct, then it forecasts the outcome of the litigation over who must pay the $15 million cost for the utility line relocation.  And if the party who has to bear that cost is the City, then it blows another $15 million hole in the Streetcar budget.

City Council's pro-streetcar majority, of course, wants nothing more than to hide the contents of that memo until after the fall election, when they start serving four-year terms, and they don't have to face the music from their foolish decision to fund the bottomless pit of a streetcar.

Tell us, Ms. Qualls, exactly how the public is served by keeping the "embarrassing" memo secret?

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