in Houston, Texas
Statesman seeks court records on taxpayer-subsidized Formula One racing track
Thursday, May 17, 2012, 10:03AM CST
By Mark Lisheron
racing car

Given the track record (pun most certainly intended) of the investors who brought Formula One to Austin, the public is going to have to file an open records request to find out how the first race in November came out.

The Austin American-Statesman this week filed a request with a Travis County district judge to release financial information about the $300 million F1 track included in a lawsuit filed by the former head of the project against several of the investors.

Texas Watchdog has for two years tracked the Statesman’s noble effort to make public the involvement of state and local governments and the use of tax money in the deal.

Two district judges have already decided after hearings to allow certain information to be sealed in the lawsuit filed in March by Tavo Hellmund and Full Throttle Productions against Bobby Epstein, chairman of Circuit of the Americas, and other investors.

Lawyers for Circuit of the Americas asked that the information be sealed because it would expose business practices they believe should remain confidential. Attorneys for Hellmund want the records opened.

The public has a right to know everything in the lawsuit because taxpayers are heavily invested in the project, John Bridges, the newspaper’s managing editor, said in the story.

Travis County taxpayers, whether they liked it or not, signed on to fund two road expansions made necessary by the track. Investors could also be eligible for $250 million in state taxpayer money over 10 years if the track meets certain state sales tax goals.

***
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Photo 'Formula One World Championship' by flickr user varlen, used via a Creative Commons license.

Comments
Arnoldo Rangel
Thursday, 05/17/2012 - 03:32PM

Travis County was already planning to make needed improvements on those roads anyways so what the big deal. what a bunch of malarkey!!

marcus
Saturday, 11/10/2012 - 12:35AM

My stance is the taxpayer should never fund or subsidize private business. It's a common sense rule our local governments disregard. It's why property taxes in Austin are insanely higher than Hawaii, and Hawaii is a much nicer place to live.

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