in Houston, Texas
Nonprofit linked to Houston Airport System's overseas work is not subject to public records law: AG
Friday, Sep 18, 2009, 05:41PM CST
By Jennifer Peebles
A nonprofit corporation through which the Houston Airport System builds and runs airports in other countries is not subject to the state's Public Information Act and does not have to release its records to the news media, the Texas attorney general's office has ruled.

The HAS Development Corp., which is building an airport in Ecuador while running another airport there and renovating a third in Costa Rica, "is not a governmental body subject to the Act. Therefore, HASDC need not respond to the present requests for its information," Assistant Attorney General Bob Davis wrote in a letter dated Sept. 14.

The letter specifically references a request regarding communications between the nonprofit and Tomlin Investments regarding a potential airport construction project in Denton County. However, Texas Watchdog had also sought access to numerous other financial and personnel documents from HASDC and had argued to the attorney general that HASDC qualified as a "governmental body" and should be subject to the open records law.

Texas Watchdog's request was not mentioned specifically in Davis' letter, but it seemed unlikely the attorney general would rule one way on HASDC's status and then immediately rule the other way for another, similar request.

Jim B
Saturday, 09/19/2009 - 08:07AM

For the Texas AG to rule that HASDC is 'not a governmental body subject to the Act' is silly and It's time for the Legislature to close this alleged loophole. HASDC was authorized by, exists solely for the benefit of, and is staffed almost exclusively by, employees of a governmental body, the City of Houston.

I am one disappointed citizen!

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