Access to unredacted Amazon lease cost Colorado Springs taxpayers $16,500

Colorado Springs Independent: The city’s refusal to release the name of Amazon in lease/purchase documents regarding property at the Colorado Springs Airport cost taxpayers $16,500 in attorney fees incurred by Fourth Estate News LLC.

Fourth Estate sought the records in a November 2018 request via the Colorado Open Records Act. The city refused to release the document, citing trade secret information.

In late December, Fourth Estate filed suit seeking to force the document’s disclosure.

After haggling in court for several months and having a judge reject its motion to dismiss the case, the city agreed to release the documents and pay a portion of Fourth Estate’s legal fees of $16,500. (Actual fees incurred by Fourth Estate totaled $26,910, due to various legal maneuvers the city made to which the news organization had to respond, according to Fourth Estate’s attorney Michael Francisco. When negotiating to end the case, the amount was reduced.)

The city argued in its motion to dismiss that Fourth Estate’s attorney, Francisco, submitted the CORA request, not Fourth Estate, and, therefore, Fourth Estate lacked standing to bring a lawsuit.

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