Boulder County seeks attorney’s fees, related costs in open records lawsuit

Times-Call (Longmont): Boulder County has asked the Boulder District Court to order Gunbarrel resident Kristin Bjornsen to pay more than $3,900 in attorney’s fees and related costs – an amount the attorney’s office contends represents only a small portion of the expenses it incurred in defending the county in Bjornsen’s open-meetings and open-records lawsuit.

Bjornsen said in an interview that she intends to fight the county’s motion for the court to award those fees and is deciding whether to appeal a judge’s rulings that the county commissioners and their staff had not violated Colorado’s open meetings and open records laws.

Last February, Bjornsen filed a lawsuit contending that Boulder County had been breaking its open meetings laws by the commissioners allegedly holding unauthorized executive sessions.

Bjornsen also charged that the county had violated Colorado’s Open Records Act by illegally denying her access or heavily redacting some of the documents she sought in connection with a proposed medium-density housing development on 20 acres of land the county Housing Authority and the Boulder Valley School District own along Gunbarrel’s Twin Lakes Road.

In October, Boulder District Judge Thomas Mulvahill ruled against Bjornsen on her contentions about open-meetings violations. In November, Mulvahill ruled that Boulder County’s denial of Bjornsen’s request to inspect certain documents – and the county’s blacking out of some of the information in the documents it did provide her – “was proper” under parts of the open records law that allow governments to exclude certain documents from public scrutiny.

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