Thursday, 16 July 2020 12:15

DENIED: Right to Know Request - "Deal Struck" over Monroe County Couthouse PNC Bank Property

Background:

A few months ago, I posted some screenshots and information about the Monroe County Courthouse expansion.  This is a follow up article about the PNC bank property that is part of the project.

I filed a "right to know" request after learning that a "deal had been struck" for Monroe County to purchase the bank / property from PNC.

Frustrated, I reached out to an attorney for help. This is what they told me:

===

The person you spoke with is technically correct, in that the right extends to “recorded” information. So when the deal is finalized and recorded, in the recorder of deeds, I would imagine, you will have the right to the information. They did say you have the right to appeal, not sure how that works, or if its worth the trouble, since you will soon have access once it is recorded. Hope that helps.

===

As you can see, they are hiding behind the very "sunshine law" that was written to promote transparency openness in government.

Working deals behind closed doors?

My issue here is they have an agreed-upon-amount, a deal is in place, but they won't disclose the amount until AFTER the deal has closed. This means that the $50 million courthouse expansion project will be "in motion" before we have a clear picture over how much the FIRST MAJOR STEP is going to cost.

How can we give them feedback, tell them to proceed or hold off?

Who are these elected officials working for?

"We the People" or the construction companies?

See email transcript below.

 

 

 

 

-----Original Message-----

From: Nate Covington This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sent: Friday, July 10, 2020 2:36 PM
To: openrecords This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject: RTK Request: PNC Property

Please see attached RTK request.

Thanks, -Nate

On 7/14/2020 6:11 AM, Christine, Greg wrote:

You need to be more specific. My records show the property has not been sold since the 70's.

From: Nate Covington This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2020 8:10 AM
To: Christine, Greg This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject: Re: RTK Request: PNC Property

Didn't Monroe county just acquire the property from PNC? For the new courthouse expansion project? Last I saw in the paper it was for an "undisclosed amount"

Thanks,
-Nate

On 7/14/2020 8:12 AM, Christine, Greg wrote:

There has been no transfer of this property to the County. We are in the beginning stages of negotiating.

From: Nate Covington This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2020 8:14 AM
To: Christine, Greg This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject: Re: RTK Request: PNC Property

It says a deal has already been struck:
https://www.poconorecord.com/news/20200603/monroe-county-strikes-deal-with-pnc-for-courthouse-expansion

Please advise?

Thanks,
-Nate

On 7/14/2020 9:25 AM, Christine, Greg wrote:

We've agreed to a price, but the terms are still being decided.

From: Nate Covington This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2020 9:49 AM
To: Christine, Greg This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject: Re: RTK Request: PNC Property

Right. What is the price?

Thanks,
-Nate

From: Nate Covington This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2020 10:52 AM
To: Christine, Greg This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject: Re: RTK Request: PNC Property

Please explain...?

Not trying to be rude, I was under the impression that this was public information already and the RTK request would have been more straightforward.

Thanks!
-Nate

On 7/14/2020 10:56 AM, Christine, Greg wrote:

It is general knowledge we plan on purchasing the bank, however, we are still in the negotiation phase, which is not subject to an Open Records Request. I'd like to help, but I cannot release the information you seek at this time.

From: Nate Covington This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2020 11:00 AM
To: Christine, Greg This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject: Re: RTK Request: PNC Property

I hear you, but it says a deal has already been struck: https://www.poconorecord.com/news/20200603/monroe-county-strikes-deal-with-pnc-for-courthouse-expansion

How can a deal have "been struck" but it's "still in negotiation phase"?

The math isn't adding up to me...

Thanks,
-Nate

On 7/14/2020 11:02 AM, Christine, Greg wrote:

The price has been agreed to but could change based on negotiations, which are in progress.

Read 839 times Last modified on Thursday, 16 July 2020 12:39
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