City asks for Attorney General Opinion on Release of Defenbaugh Report
Following the July 28th Paris City Council meeting, where PEDC Chair Stephen Grubbs presented a report on the forensic investigation from Defenbaugh & Associates, four public information requests were made for the report.
Both eParisExtra.com and the Paris News requested copies of the report that was presented to the council as did private citizens W.C. Strathern and Keith Flowers.
Today, eParisExtra.com received a certified letter from the city that was sent to the Texas Attorney General’s Office on August 11th. According to state law, the city had ten (10) business days from the date of receiving the written requests to ask for an opinion from the Attorney General whether or not the 7/28 report is except from disclosure.
Although many in the community felt that the July 28th report was the final report, it was later learned during an August 5th meeting where PEDC board of directors met in executive session with Mr. Defenbaugh and an attorney, that it was actually a preliminary report. After that executive session, Chair Grubbs reported that a final report would be coming August 12, 2014.
The letter reads, “Thus, by Mr. Defenbaugh’s declaration the 7/28 report is not a final report for the purposes of Texas Government Code Sec. 552.022(a)(1) but is, rather, comprised of “audit working papers” as defined by Sec. 552.116. Consequently, the City is seeking to withhold these materials in their entirety. The requested materialsl are “Audit Working Papers” and are excepted from the disclosure under Tex. Government Code Sec. 552.116.
It goes on to state “per Defenbaugh and Mr. Grubbs, the 7/28 reports are not completed and final reports will be produced by Defenbaugh by August 12, 2014. And therefore the 7/28 reports are expressly excepted from disclosure under the Act under Sec. 552.116(b)(2) (B).
Furthermore, the letter asserts that the audit was properly authorized by law and that “the term “audit” is not an accounting term of art under this statute.
The report goes on to discuss account numbers under Sec. 552.136 and states that all account numbers whether credit card, debit card, charge card or access device number is confidential.
eParisExtra.com has been unable to confirm whether a “final report” was given to the PEDC by Defenbaugh & Associates on August 12, 2014.