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November 17, 1999

Ms. Kristi DeCluitt
City of College Station
P.O. Box 9960
College Station, Texas 77842

OR99-3290

Dear Ms. DeCluitt:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 129534.

The City of College Station (the "city") received a request for all studies concerning the building of a new conference center, including "any economic and market studies of the Wolf Pen Creek Conference Center/Hotel project, the Bryan project, and Don Adam's project." You state that you have already released some of the requested information to requestor. However, you claim that the submitted information is excepted from disclosure under section 552.110 of the Government Code.(1) We have considered the exception you claim and reviewed the submitted information.

Section 552.110(b) excepts from required public disclosure "[c]ommercial or financial information for which it is demonstrated based on specific factual evidence that disclosure would cause substantial competitive harm to the person from whom the information was obtained." Act of May 25, 1999, 76th Leg., R.S., ch 1319, 7, 1999 Tex. Sess. Law Serv. 4500, 4503 (Vernon) (to be codified as an amendment to Tex. Gov't Code 552.110). The governmental body, or interested third party, raising section 552.110 must provide a specific factual or evidentiary showing, not conclusory or generalized allegations, that substantial competitive injury would likely result from disclosure. Gov't Code 552.110; see also National Parks & Conservation Ass'n v. Morton, 498 F.2d 765 (D.C. Cir. 1974). You state that the submitted information was obtained at a significant cost by the developers of the property that is to be the site of a conference center and hotel project. You argue that release of the submitted information would essentially provide free information to the developers' competitors. However, after considering your argument, we find that it does not provide specific factual evidence that disclosure of the information would cause substantial competitive harm to the developers. Accordingly, the city must release the information to the requestor.

We are resolving this matter with an informal letter ruling rather than with a published open records decision. This ruling is limited to the particular records at issue under the facts presented to us in this request and should not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have questions about this ruling, please contact our office.

Sincerely,

E. Joanna Fitzgerald
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

EJF\nc

Ref: ID# 129534

Encl: Submitted documents

cc: Mr. Benito Flores-Meath
901 Val Verde Drive
College Station, Texas 77845-5125
(w/o enclosures)


 

Footnotes

1. You apparently raise section 552.110 on behalf of the developers of the prospective conference center. We have received no indication that the city has notified the developers of the request for information in which they may have privacy or property interests. We note that section 552.305 requires the city to make a good faith effort to notify the developers of the request
 

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