In December, I submitted an open records request with the City of Irving seeking to learn how a 2016 incentive agreement between the city and McKesson Corp. had expired. I learned a lot. The city was supposed to pay some $2 million but never had. The pharma giant didn’t hit its benchmarks, so the deal came off the books. I wrote about it.
Although the city provided a lot of materials—annual reports, an agreement review, emails—there were a few pages they chose to redact. You see those pages in the photo atop this post. In a letter to the Attorney General’s office, city officials claimed they were confidential. Usually, any documents related to a deal signed and announced would be public, but the city argued that the information dealt with an offer not yet resolved. As in: they were still in negotiations.
“Although the City has previously entered an agreement with this particular business prospect, and the records therefrom are public, the City is currently discussing a possible new agreement with the company,” reads the city’s letter to the AG.
Mind you, this was all after the late-2018 announcement that McKesson is moving its global headquarters to Irving. Both sides say there are no incentives tied to that deal. Irving won’t comment on what these ongoing negotiations could possibly be in reference to. Are they related to amending the 2016 deal? Are they about the HQ move? Are we talking about some sort of third relocation?
Anyway, the AG’s office didn’t buy it. The office wrote that “the city has failed to establish the information at issue relates to financial or other incentives being offered to a business prospect.” Usually, that’s that. The city has to release the information.
But they do have one more course of action, and it came to my attention today that Irving has decided to take it. The city will sue the AG to keep the information sealed.
The Irving City Council held a special meeting on Thursday, March 14, with the sole purpose of discussing the AG’s decision. This North Dallas Gazette story says they immediately went into executive session and, after 25 minutes, authorized the city attorney to file a lawsuit.
A city spokesperson sent me a statement on Tuesday:
“The City of Irving believes that revealing economic development information during an ongoing negotiation would compromise the economic development negotiation process and should be protected until such time as an agreement is reached.”