Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mayor's office continues to hide public information

I filed seven records requests with the City of Fort Wayne to force them to reveal to me public information concerning Harrison Square. They refused to provide me any information other then what is currently on their website. The info on the website is vague and shows totals only...

I specifically requested all of the information Acquest provided to the City in response to the RFP. This would include the projected hotel occupancy rate, etc...

The City claimed the following exemption:

"IC 5-14-3-4 provides that certain documents may not be disclosed by a public agency, including records containing trade secrets [IC 5-14-3-4(a)(4)] and confidential information obtained, upon request, from a person [IC 5-14-3-4(a)(5). Acquest confirmed by letter dated March 2, 2007, that it considers the financial information and narrative description of models identified in the letter to be proprietary information. A copy of that letter is enclosed."

The City of Fort Wayne absolutely refuses to provide any information concerning:
Projected Hotel Occupancy Rate
Any detailed financial information other then the summary projections calculated by public
officials.

I really want to know what the projected hotel occupancy rate is. This is relevant for since the public financing of this project hinges on the projected hotel occupancy rate. The TIF district has to generate enough revenue to pay the obligations and this revenue will vary depending on the occupancy rate of the hotel.

I am disappointed in the weak coverage of this issue by local media. Consider the following:

1. The Mayor promised me I could have this information in February in a public forum.
2. The Deputy Mayor promised numerous people that all questions would be answered.
3. A majority of City Councilmen told the City during a City Council meeting that they need to release more information.
4. The public access laws are clear and lead me to believe that Fort Wayne is violating the intent of the public access laws.

The letter from City Attorney Manges to the News Sentinel is pathetic and inaccurate:

"City is open on Harrison Square

The city of Fort Wayne is committed to providing the public with information that is requested of city government. Throughout the Harrison Square process, the city has worked diligently to update the community.

Dozens of public meetings were held. In addition, the city’s Web site contains a wide collection of Harrison Square documentation, including fact sheets, frequently asked questions, memorandum of understanding agreements and financial data. City officials also met privately with residents who requested information sessions.

Some in our community have expressed concern that the mayor’s office has not responded accordingly to public records requests. I want to assure the community that the city administration takes each public records request seriously and responds in an appropriate time frame to meet state law requirements.

Tim Manges City Attorney "


So what is the projected hotel occupancy rate Mr Manges?

So how were any of the cities calculations determined Mr Manges?

What are the answers to the 58 questions I submitted to you in writing Mr. Manges?

The crickets are chirping...

Mike Sylvester

2 comments:

Jeff Pruitt said...

What a joke. Projected occupancy rates calculated by the city is proprietary to the hotel?

This is their way of not dealing w/ the problem. If the city takes public records request seriously then I would hate to see what happens when they don't take something seriously.

Hopefully the PAC can address this...

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Jeff:

Actually the hotel occupancy rates I am asking for were provided by the hotel to the City.

The City used these projected occupancy rates to calculate their own projections...

Mike Sylvester