Preserving our Neighborhood
POTOMAC, MD – June 14, 2012 – The Brickyard Coalition today filed its response in Circuit Court challenging Montgomery County’s claim that County managers cannot find critical documents regarding Ike Leggett’s secret deal with MSI for the Brickyard site. Records for five high-level County employees are missing for a five months period.
The Brickyard Coalition filed a Maryland Public Information request with the County on November 9, 2011. After the County failed to produce many of the requested records, the Coalition and others filed a MPIA complaint in Circuit Court seeking the requested records. The law requires the County to preserve records and documents to be made available to its citizens upon information requests such as the one made by the Brickyard Coalition.
The County has claimed in affidavits filed in Circuit Count that, among other relevant documents, they cannot find a letter from Ike Leggett to the Board of Education (BOE) dated November 10, 2009, requesting a lease of the Brickyard property even though copies of this letter also was sent to Tim Firestine, David Dise and Gabe Albornoz. All of the copies, the original letter, the electronic Word documents, notes, and drafts, et cetera, have “gone missing” according to the County. Also missing is the BOE response sent to Leggett in December of 2009.
Contradicting the County’s unbelievable claim of five months of missing documents is the fact that in March of 2011 the County was able to find and provide a copy of these same two missing letters to Janis Sartucci of the Parent’s Coalition, which was provided by Patrick Lacefield, Director of Communication for the County. See attached affidavit and emails. But a mere eight months later these letters and the related records are missing. The County also failed to provide copies of the Sartucci emails from Lacefield.
Of interest also is that less than one week after Leggett wrote the letter to the BOE, Montgomery Soccer, Inc. (MSI) states in the minutes of its November 17, 2009, meeting that it [MSI] is “working closely with our professional consultant on a public-private partnership proposal with the county government and MCPS.” Perhaps the County needs to ask MSI for a copy of the missing Leggett letter. And who “leaked” this confidential information regarding the negotiation between the County and MCPS/BOE to MSI?
In summary, the County is claiming in the Court affidavits that records (including letters, emails, notes, computer files, meeting minutes, calendars, et cetera) for five high level County manager—Ike Leggett, County Executive; Jennifer Hughes, then Special Assistant to Leggett; David Dise, Director of General Services; Gabe Albornoz, Director of Recreation and Cynthia Brenneman, Director Office of Real Estate—for a period of five months are missing from the County records. These documents include:
- November 9, 2009 letter from County Executive Ike Leggett to the Board of Education re Brickyard Lease;
- The response letter from the Board of Education to Ike Leggett dated December 23, 2009
- Records of a January 5 meeting regarding the Brickyard property between four high level County employees—Jennifer Hughes, David Dise, Gabe Albornoz and Cythia Brenneman—and staff from the Montgomery County Public Schools.
- Records of meeting in early March 2010 between David Dise (and perhaps others) and Maryland-National Capital Parksand Planning Commission.
- Records of a meeting between MSI and County Executive Leggett in the Spring of 2010. (The April 13, 2010, MSI minutes state “[MSI] Field 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”
Why won’t Ike Leggett disclose these county records regarding his secret Brickyard deal and his private meetings with MSI to the citizens and voters of Montgomery County?
What is Ike Leggett covering up? Have records been destroyed?
It is time for the County Council and the Montgomery IG to investigate these missing Brickyard documents and provide answers to the citizens of Montgomery County.