From: The ECHO-Association <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: GRAMA Appeal to the Chief Administrative Officer (Legal Invoices and Evidence of Payment)
Date: December 3, 2021 at 12:32:35 PM PST
Cc: Jennifer Hawkes <email@example.com>, Eric Hawkes <eric@ECID.org>, brent@ECID.org, dave@ECID.org
Dear Chief Administrative Officer,
The attached email correspondence was received from Utah Attorney Jeremy R. Cook (“Utah Attorney Cook”) of the Salt Lake City law firm Cohne Kinghorn P.C. on behalf of the designated Emigration Improvement District (“EID”) Public Records Office Simplifi Company regarding our second revised request dated November 24, 2021, to inspect legal invoices and evidence of payment thereof believed to document the possible misuse of public funds.
We hereby appeal denial of the GRAMA request to the designated EID Chief Administrative Officer Michael Scott Hughes.
Please note the following for the purpose of this appeal:
Name: Mark Christopher Tracy
Mailing Address: 1160 E. Buchnel Dr., Sandy, Utah 84094
Daytime Phone Number: 929-208-6010
Relief Sought / Grounds for Appeal: We have reason to believe that the Simplifi Company, its shareholders, and/or trustees of EID may be concealing the misuse of public funds for private profit.
Under Utah Code Ann. sec. 63G-2-201(1)(a) “a person has the right to inspect a public record free of charge, and the right to take a copy of a public record during normal working hours” if the record is not privileged or confidential while the intentional refusal to disclose public records may be a criminal offense under Utah Code Ann. sec. 63G-2-801(3)(a).
We note that the Utah State Records Committee has expressly recognized that legal service invoices submitted for payment of public funds to a government vendor are not generally subject to the attorney-client privilege under Utah Code 63G-2-305(17), (18) or (23) (see Onykso v. Attorney General’s Office, Case No. 2020-105).
Regardless of the fact that legal service invoices are not “prepared … for, or in anticipation of pending litigation,” or concern a “governmental entity’s strategy about imminent or pending litigation” but rather only document the scope and duration of work performed as a demand for payment, federal courts have unanimously rejected claims of attorney-client privilege even when legal services are provided solely to private individuals and corporations and not a for-profit corporation contracted by a governmental entity to create and maintain public records at taxpayer expense as in the instant action. See e.g., In re Grand Jury Suboenas, 906 F.2d 1485 (10th Cir. 1990).
Likewise, the Utah State Records Committee also expressly rejected Utah Attorney Cook’s notion that a governmental entity may reject access to public records because a courtesy copy was proved to Emigration Canyon Deputy Mayor Hawkes as a shareholder of Simplifi Company.
We await the decision of the Chief Administrative Officer.
Mark Christopher Tracy
dba Emigration Canyon Home Owners Association
From: Jeremy Cook <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: November 28, 2021 at 3:00:30 PM PST
To: The ECHO-Association <email@example.com>
Subject: FW: Second Revised GRAMA Request – Legal Invoices of the Salt Lake City Law Firm Cohne Kinghorn P.C.
I am responding to the attached GRAMA request. As you have been informed numerous times, Emigration Improvement District (“EID”) will not respond to GRAMA requests that are made c/o Simplifi Company or that include Mrs. Hawkes. In the alternative, in accordance with Utah Code Ann. 63G-2-305(17), the records are classified as protected.
As you are aware, you may appeal this decisions to the Chair of EID’s board of trustees, Michael Hughes, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org within 30 days.
Jeremy R. Cook
111 East Broadway, 11th Floor
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
Phone: 801.363.4300 (after hours ext. 133) | Cell: 801.580.8759