Contracts between the the city of Logansport, Logansport Municipal Utilities and the consultants hired to assist with the city’s power plant project were released to a Logansport attorney last month, revealing information about out-of-state meetings and estimated pay for each of the consultants’ services.
The proposed plant, which would be powered by refuse-derived fuel, is currently under negotiation between the city and Boca-Raton, Fla.-based Pyrolyzer LLC.
The contracts were released to Jim Brugh, a Logansport attorney whose client Julie Kitchell sued Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin and city council this spring alleging the administration began the negotiating process with Pyrolyzer before authorizing itself to do so. The case was argued before the Indiana Supreme Court earlier this month, but a decision has yet to be made.
The released agreements are between the city, LMU and William-Lynn-James, an Indianapolis firm that has recruited a team of consultants from across North America. To date, the city council has approved allocations totaling more than $1.5 million to the firm, an amount Franklin says he is planning to get reimbursed through the plant negotiations.
The contracts were released by John Molitor, an attorney working as special counsel for the city, after Indiana Public Access Counselor Joseph Hoage issued an informal opinion stating the documents should be disclosed.
In his opinion, Hoage sided with Brugh’s disagreement with Molitor that the consultants’ names and rates of pay were not trade secrets because the consultants “have previously been identified by the city and/or firm and have testified in related public hearings.”
Hoage added the consultants “advertise for work in their market and there is nothing proprietary what the firm chooses to pay them.”
Hoage, like Brugh, also contested Molitor’s claims that the contracts consist of documents the state’s Access to Public Records Act allows agencies to withhold, like diaries, journals, or a record, if publicly disclosed, that “would have a reasonable likelihood of threatening public safety by exposing a vulnerability to terrorist attack.”