Chris is busy at work and asked that this be brought to your attention. Frankly, I’m a little confused but not for the reason one might first expect. Explanation to follow.
The Voice of OC has a post today under a nearly identical title. It describes how a number of documents detailing environmental concerns at Irvine’s Great Park are being kept away from the public by a law firm that contracts with the City of Irvine. Apparently these documents are being kept secret under the concept of attorney-client privilege because they are the work product from a contract issued through this law firm, Rutan and Tucker.
This story has anÂ UPDATE over at Voice of OC: More on Environmental Docs Controversy in Irvine
Here’s where I fail to understand the situation. I can’t even get to the point of public disclosure because the documents are being kept secret from the city council. Attorneys, working on behalf of, i.e. being paid by, the city are keeping reports secret from their client/paymaster. OK, that one completely baffles me.
From the article, “I’m your client, as you suggested, but I haven’t heard a word about what they’re [URS Corp. (the environmental consultant on the project)] doing, and I think I should have some updates,” [Irvine City Council member Christina] Shea told Richard Montevideo, a lawyer from the law firm Rutan and Tucker, which Irvine contracts with for city attorney services.
Also from the article, Montevideo said the scope of the consultant’s work is to help the city attorney understand “overlapping legal and technical issues” related to clean-up efforts. He said the consultant, as an extension of the city attorney’s office, has to keep its work secret.
…from the city council???
And finally, Shea also doubts the documents in question are protected under attorney-client privilege because they don’t pertain to any litigation, which she believes to be “the only way they can do this.”
Attorney Montivideo says he will present his thoughts at a closed council meeting and Council member Shea has promised to release the documents to the public if she finds that they are not protected.