Texas Attorney General’s Office Issues Ruling on Public Information & NELCDC
Certain information requested by the media from the North and East Lubbock Community Development Corporation does not have to be released, following a ruling from the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
Some media outlets in Lubbock have been requesting information from the NELCDC regarding their finances. The organization receives funds from the City of Lubbock.
Allegations of impropriety have arisen regarding the law firm used by the NELCDC, Mullin, Hoard, and Brown, and the fact that an attorney at the firm, Latrelle Joy (pictured), serves as the District Six Lubbock City Councilwoman and has voted in favor of delivering City funds to the organization.
Deputy City Secretary Thomas Harris works with the NELCDC as executive director, and former Lubbock Mayor David Langston, who also works at Mullin, Hoard, and Brown, as well as Assistant City Manager Quincy White both serve on the NELCDC board.
The NELCDC was originally founded in 2004 with a budget of $250,000 per year, and that budget began to drop after 2007. The Council approved $251,000 of City funds for the organization in March of 2013, with only District Three Councilman Todd Klein voting against the measure.
In a press release sent to KFYO on Friday afternoon, Langston heralded the ruling, saying “One of the biggest misconceptions has been whether or not NELCDC is subject to all things under the Public Information Act. As you will read, that information is only required ‘to the extent that it is supported by City funds.’”
Langston says that monies spent with City funds are properly reported and provided to the public on a quarterly basis, and the assertion of attorney-client privilege was granted regarding some email communications.
The AG’s office ruled that some of the communications are indeed considered as privileged attorney-client communications, but that the NELCDC failed to identify all of the parties included on some of the emails, and thus, failed to demonstrate how certain emails constitute confidential communications among privileged parties, and so some of the requested emails will be released.
They also ruled that information relating to parts of the NELCDC’s operations that are directly supported by City funds must be released under the Public Information Act.
More information regarding the City’s funding of the NELCDC is available here.