The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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November 19, 2013

Report: Clinton Council violated Open Records law


"Once the (city) took final action on the EMS litigation, the need to keep the requested documents confidential disappeared. Therefore, the (city) should have disclosed the requested documents to the petitioners," Greve wrote in her ruling.

Even assuming the city's potential action against ICAP, which was discussed during the Sept. 28, 2010 closed session, was not resolved, the city didn't establish whether that litigation is pending or final.

She also asserted the city council destroyed attorney-client privilege during the Aug. 3, 2010 meeting by having mediator John Nhara present.  

The attorney-client privilege was further destroyed during the city's subsequent legal malpractice suit against Walker and his firm Hopkins and Huebner. That case was heard by a Scott County jury last month, which decided Walker did not commit legal malpractice.

The content of the closed sessions was discussed extensively during the malpractice trial and was voluntarily disclosed by the city, Greve wrote, waiving the attorney-client privilege as it pertains to the requested documents.   

Last week, Judge Nancy Tabor, who presided over the legal malpractice case, ordered the transcripts from the closed sessions that were used as exhibits during the legal malpractice trial were public record.  

Greve also found the documents were not exempt from being disclosed under the attorney-client work product.  

“The city has put a lot of time and energy into fighting this disclosure, but in a democracy, it’s important for citizens to advocate for open government and for the right to know what happened with their tax money," ACLU Legal Director Randall Wilson said.

The motion did not ask Greve to enforce fines for the violations. CFOG and the city are set to appear in court for a trial in the matter at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

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