Irving city manager wanted text messages in open records request deleted, affidavit says

Texts

The city manager of Irving encouraged city employees to delete messages that were part of an open records request, according to an affidavit that is part of a $139 million breach of contract lawsuit against the city.

Brenda McDonald, the city’s former real estate and development director, made the allegation against Tommy Gonzalez in the affidavit  that is part of the suit by developer Las Colinas Group, the Dallas Morning News reports today.

The newspaper made an open records request earlier this year for records, including text messages, from city employees regarding the May 2009 collapse of the Dallas Cowboys’ training facility in Irving.

McDonald said that during a city staff meeting, Gonzalez was advised by the city attorney that Blackberry messages, or PINS, were covered under the state’s Public Information Act.

McDonald’s affidavit states that "during this meeting, City Manager Gonzalez repeated numerous times that 'if you don't have your PINS, you cannot turn them over' (and the clear implication was to encourage us to delete our PINs).”

The preferred method of communication by City Manager Gonzalez to the staff had always been the use of PINs. Following the Dallas Morning News's open records request, City Manager Gonzalez refused to communicate using his PINs and encouraged his staff not to as well."

McDonald resigned as of the end of 2010, stating her departure was “in the best interest of me and my family.” She had been working with Las Colinas Group on the development of a new entertainment center.

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Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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Photo of Texts by user Roozbeh Rokni, used via a Creative Commons license.