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April 4, 2000

Mr. Dan H. Kennedy
The Texas A&M University System
Facilities Planning and Construction Department
Planning Division
Asbury at University Drive
UMS Box 1586
College Station, Texas 77843

OR2000-1285

Dear Mr. Kennedy:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 134776.

Pursuant to section 552.301(e), a governmental body is required to submit to this office within fifteen business days of receiving an open records request (1) general written comments stating the reasons why the stated exceptions apply that would allow the information to be withheld, (2) a copy of the written request for information, (3) a signed statement or sufficient evidence showing the date the governmental body received the written request, and (4) a copy of the specific information requested or representative samples, labeled to indicate which exceptions apply to which parts of the documents. You did not, however, submit to this office copies or representative samples of the specific information that was requested.

Pursuant to section 552.302 of the Government Code, a governmental body's failure to submit to this office the information required in section 552.301(e) results in the legal presumption that the information is public and must be released. Information that is presumed public must be released unless a governmental body demonstrates a compelling reason to withhold the information to overcome this presumption. See Hancock v. State Bd. of Ins., 797 S.W.2d 379, 381-82 (Tex. App.--Austin 1990, no writ) (governmental body must make compelling demonstration to overcome presumption of openness pursuant to statutory predecessor to Gov't Code 552.302); Open Records Decision No. 319 (1982). You have not shown such a compelling interest to overcome the presumption that the information at issue is public. Accordingly, you must release the requested information. We caution that the distribution of confidential information constitutes a criminal offense. Gov't Code 552.352.

This letter ruling is limited to the particular records at issue in this request and limited to the facts as presented to us; therefore, this ruling must not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records or any other circumstances.

This ruling triggers important deadlines regarding the rights and responsibilities of the governmental body and of the requestor. For example, governmental bodies are prohibited from asking the attorney general to reconsider this ruling. Gov't Code 552.301(f). If the governmental body wants to challenge this ruling, the governmental body must appeal by filing suit in Travis County within 30 calendar days. Id. 552.324(b). In order to get the full benefit of such an appeal, the governmental body must file suit within 10 calendar days. Id. 552.353(b)(3), (c). If the governmental body does not appeal this ruling and the governmental body does not comply with it, then both the requestor and the attorney general have the right to file suit against the governmental body to enforce this ruling. Id. 552.321(a).

If this ruling requires the governmental body to release all or part of the requested information, the governmental body is responsible for taking the next step. Based on the statute, the attorney general expects that, within 10 calendar days of this ruling, the governmental body will do one of the following three things: 1) release the public records; 2) notify the requestor of the exact day, time, and place that copies of the records will be provided or that the records can be inspected; or 3) notify the requestor of the governmental body's intent to challenge this letter ruling in court. If the governmental body fails to do one of these three things within 10 calendar days of this ruling, then the requestor should report that failure to the attorney general's Open Government Hotline, toll free, at 877/673-6839. The requestor may also file a complaint with the district or county attorney. Id. 552.3215(e).

If this ruling requires or permits the governmental body to withhold all or some of the requested information, the requestor can appeal that decision by suing the governmental body. Id. 552.321(a); Texas Dep't of Public Safety v. Gilbreath, 842 S.W.2d 408, 411 (Tex. App.-Austin 1992, no writ).

If the governmental body, the requestor, or any other person has questions or comments about this ruling, they may contact our office. Although there is no statutory deadline for contacting us, the attorney general prefers to receive any comments within 10 calendar days of the date of this ruling.

Sincerely,

William Walker
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

WMW/cwt

Ref: ID# 134776

cc: Mr. Jeffrey A. Ford
Ford White Wielinski Salazar
1100 Highland Park Place
4514 Cole Avenue
Dallas, Texas 75205
(w/o enclosures)

Gregory M. Cokinos
Cokinos Bosien & Young
2919 Allen Parkway, Suite 1500
Houston, Texas 77019
(w/o enclosures)

Bill Stinson
Senior Vice President
Centex Construction Company
10150 Monroe Drive
Dallas, Texas 75229
(w/o enclosures)

Tom Ferguson
Lee Lewis Construction, Inc.
7810 Orlando
Lubbock, Texas 79423
(w/o enclosures)

C. T. Goolsby
M W Builders, Inc.
1701 N. General Bruce Drive
P. O. Box 220
Temple, Texas 76504-2474
(w/o enclosures)

Ralph Ketchum
Austin Commercial, Inc.
3535 Travis Street, Suite 300
Dallas, Texas 75204-1466
(w/o enclosures)

Martin W. Rogers
Vice President
Williams Industries, Inc.
11000 Brittmoore Park Drive
Houston, Texas 77041
(w/o enclosures)

Mike Robertson
Vice President
Western Builders
700 South Grant
Amarillo, Texas 79101
(w/o enclosures)

Greg Edwards, President
Falcon Group Construction
5225 Katy Freeway, Suite 530
Houston, Texas 77007
(w/o enclosures)

Steve Whitecraft, Vice President
Turner Construction
13601 Preston Road, Suite 500 W
Dallas, Texas 75240-4801
(w/o enclosures)

Paul Bauer
Executive Vice President
C. F. Jordan, L.P.
1509 Emerald Parkway, Suite 105
College Station, Texas 77845
(w/o enclosures)

John A. Qualline, Senior Vice President
3D/International
1900 West Loop South
Houston, Texas 77027-3292
(w/o enclosures)

Mark Potadle
Obrien Kreitzberg
3301 Main Street
Post Office Box 42201
Lubbock, Texas 79409
(w/o enclosures)

Jerry C. Hobbs, President
Faulkner Construction, Inc.
3901 South Lamar Blvd., Suite 200
Austin, Texas 78704
(w/o enclosures)

Danny D. McLarty, President
MBA Architects, Inc.
6777 Camp Bowie Blvd., Suite 222
Fort Worth, Texas 76116
(w/o enclosures)

Steve Mitchell
President & CEO
Mitchell Enterprises, Inc.
Post Office Box 3109
Sherman, Texas 75091-3109
(w/o enclosures)

Benjamin Larance
Director of Design
The Beck Group
1700 Pacific Avenue, Suite 3800
Dallas, Texas 75201-4619
(w/o enclosures)

Wallis H. Bryce
Chairman of the Board, CEO
Coronado Builders, Inc.
4300 Beltway Place, Suite #180
Arlington, Texas 76018
(w/o enclosures)


 

POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US
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