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September 21, 2000

Ms. Sara Shiplet Waitt
Senior Associate Commissioner
Legal and Compliance Department
Texas Department of Insurance
P.O. Box 149104
Austin, Texas 78714-9104

OR2000-3665

Dear Ms. Waitt:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 139731.

The Texas Department of Insurance (the "department") received a request for "all bids for the supervision, conservation and/or receivership of Bankers Commercial." You indicate that the interests of third parties, Resolution Oversight Corporation and Austin Encore, are implicated by the release of the responsive information. The department does not assert an exception to disclosure that it contends applies to the responsive information. In compliance with Government Code section 552.305, you notified the third parties of this request for information. The notice informed each party that it may submit to the attorney general, within ten days of receiving the notice, its reasons why the information in question should be withheld. Neither third party submitted any comment to this office. As no exception to disclosure has been demonstrated to apply to the responsive information, it must be released. 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 Department of Public Safety v. Gilbreath, 842 S.W.2d 408,411 (Tex. App.-Austin 1992, no writ).

Please remember that under the Act the release of information triggers certain procedures for costs and charges to the requestor. If records are released in compliance with this ruling, be sure that all charges for the information are at or below the legal amounts. Questions or complaints about over-charging must be directed to the General Services Commission at 512/475-2497.

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,

Michael Jay Burns
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

MJB/er

Ref: ID# 139731

Encl: Submitted documents

cc: Ms. Susan Taylor
Bond & Taylor, L.L.P.
1021 Main Street, Suite 1940
Houston, Texas 77002
(w/o enclosures)

Ms. Margo Kirkpatrick
Austin Encore
3701 North Lamar Blvd., Suite 200A
Austin, Texas 78705
(w/o enclosures)

Mr. Ernesto Garza
Resolution Oversight Corporation
P.O. Box 691852
San Antonio, Texas 78269-1852
(w/o enclosures)


 

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