County Executive Fails to Comply With MPIA Complaint, Orders Prepayment of Brickyard Lease

 

Brickyard Coalition
Preserving our Neighborhood 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact Keith Williams at 301-983-5334

POTOMAC, MD – May 10, 2012 – On March 21, 2012, a coalition of concerned Montgomery County citizens filed a Maryland Public Information (MPIA) Complaint in Circuit Court to compel the production of records “willfully and wrongfully withheld” in regard to the Plaintiffs’ MPIA request for documents submitted in regard to the Brickyard Road lease.

Now affidavits have been filed in Circuit Court stating the County is unable to find a large number of records related to the Brickyard lease. According to these affidavits, no County records‐‐including emails, documents and calendars‐‐can be found for Ike Leggett, Tim Firestine, Jennifer Hughes, David Dise and Cindi Brenneman in regard to key matters related to the Brickyard lease. These six top officials of our County have been unable to provide records for a six month period of time, claiming they “cannot find” the following key records in regard to the Brickyard lease:

  • The original letter Ike Leggett wrote to the Board of Education on November 10, 2009 requesting that the Board of Education lease the Brickyard School property to the County.1
  • The response from the Board of Education to Ike Leggett dated December 23, 2009.2
  • Any records –emails, calendar or documents—for a January 5, 2010, meeting about Brickyard attended by David Dise, Jennifer Hughes then Spec Assistant to Ike Leggett, Gabe Albornoz and possibly Cindi Brenneman with the staff of the Board of Education.
  • Any records of the spring 2010 meeting between Ike Leggett and MSI, even though the MSI minutes state it was held.3

“It is not believable or credible” said Curt Uhre of the Brickyard Coalition. “How do so many County records just disappear? It begins to smell like a cover up.”

In further violation of the public trust, Ike Leggett also directed David Dise, Director of Department of General Services, to prepay the Board of Education $12,000 to cover the entire remaining lease payments for the Brickyard property for the eight year period from April, 2013 through March, 2021, despite the lease requirement for only annual payments.

“This action by the County Executive in apparent violation of the Charter is yet another outrageous affront to the Council and Montgomery County citizens, and is an abuse of County expenditure of funds,” said Keith Williams, President of the Civic Association of River Falls. “Ike Leggett has publicly said he doesn’t care what the citizens of Montgomery County think, and he apparently doesn’t care what the County Council thinks either.”

A coalition of concerned Montgomery County citizens is now requesting an immediate investigation by the Council to determine how best to reverse this improper expenditure and to restore the appropriate role of the Council in the appropriations and budget process. Without this, the Council is opening the door to the County Executive’s continued abuse and disdain of the governmental financial structure of our County, in clear violation of the checks and balances required of a democratic government serving the taxpaying citizens.

The coalition consists of several non‐profit citizens’ organizations, including the West Montgomery County Citizens’ Association, the Civic Association of River Falls, Inc. and the Brickyard Coalition.

1 The County alleges the only record they have of this letter was attached as an exhibit to a Complaint filed by Nick Maravell.
2 The County alleges the only record they have of this letter was attached as an exhibit to a Complaint filed by Nick Maravell.
3 MSI “Development Task Force met with Ike Leggett to discuss possible field development opportunities in the county. Positive discussions were conducted and points of contact were provided to help MSI continue to pursue future development opportunities”. Source: April 13, 2010 MSI Executive Committee minutes.

End