|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
May 17, 2000
Mr. Juan E. Gonzalez
Dear Mr. Gonzalez:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 135358.
The City of Mercedes (the "city"), which you represent, received a request for appraisals of park land owned by the city. You claim that the requested information is excepted from disclosure under section 552.105(2) of the Government Code. We have considered the exception you claim and have reviewed the submitted information.
Section 552.105(2) excepts from required public disclosure information relating to:
. . . .
(2) appraisals or purchase price of real or personal property for a public purpose prior to the formal award of contracts for the property.
Gov't Code § 552.105(2). The purpose of section 552.105 is to protect a governmental body's planning and negotiating position with respect to particular real or personal property transactions. Open Records Decision No. 357 (1982). You indicate that the park land is "currently owned by the City but the City is interested in selling this property." We note that you have not asserted that the requested information pertains to any specific pending or prospective transaction involving the park land. The city has not sufficiently explained how the release of information relating to the park property would affect a particular transaction. See Open Records Decision 564 (1990). We therefore conclude that the city may not withhold the requested information pursuant to section 552.105 of the Government Code. Thus, the city must release the appraisals to the requestor.
This letter ruling is limited to the particular records at issue in this request and limited to the facts as presented to us; therefore, this ruling must not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records or any other circumstances.
This ruling triggers important deadlines regarding the rights and responsibilities of the governmental body and of the requestor. For example, governmental bodies are prohibited from asking the attorney general to reconsider this ruling. Gov't Code § 552.301(f). If the governmental body wants to challenge this ruling, the governmental body must appeal by filing suit in Travis County within 30 calendar days. Id. § 552.324(b). In order to get the full benefit of such an appeal, the governmental body must file suit within 10 calendar days. Id. § 552.353(b)(3), (c). If the governmental body does not appeal this ruling and the governmental body does not comply with it, then both the requestor and the attorney general have the right to file suit against the governmental body to enforce this ruling. Id. § 552.321(a).
If this ruling requires the governmental body to release all or part of the requested information, the governmental body is responsible for taking the next step. Based on the statute, the attorney general expects that, within 10 calendar days of this ruling, the governmental body will do one of the following three things: 1) release the public records; 2) notify the requestor of the exact day, time, and place that copies of the records will be provided or that the records can be inspected; or 3) notify the requestor of the governmental body's intent to challenge this letter ruling in court. If the governmental body fails to do one of these three things within 10 calendar days of this ruling, then the requestor should report that failure to the attorney general's Open Government Hotline, toll free, at 877/673-6839. The requestor may also file a complaint with the district or county attorney. Id. § 552.3215(e).
If this ruling requires or permits the governmental body to withhold all or some of the requested information, the requestor can appeal that decision by suing the governmental body. Id. § 552.321(a); Texas Department of Public Safety v. Gilbreath, 842 S.W.2d 408, 411 (Tex. App.--Austin 1992, no writ).
If the governmental body, the requestor, or any other person has questions or comments about this ruling, they may contact our office. Although there is no statutory deadline for contacting us, the attorney general prefers to receive any comments within 10 calendar days of the date of this ruling.
Carla Gay Dickson
Ref: ID# 135358
Encl. Submitted documents
cc: Mr. David Garza
POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US