I just got back from the Centre City Development Corp.’s downtown offices, where I was told that documents were waiting for me in response to a July 25 California Public Records Act request I filed.

I’ve been trying to get every e-mail sent to or from former CCDC President Nancy Graham after April 1. The documents are public because they were created while conducting business on behalf of taxpayers.

CCDC, however, recently denied my July 25 request as well as a subsequent request filed in late August. The agency then changed course three weeks ago at the direction of CCDC Chairman Fred Maas, who said he wanted to err on the side of transparency.

The small stack of records provided today — 98 pages of e-mails in all — included a CCDC employee’s routine requests for time sheets and a spam request for money from someone claiming to live in the Ivory Coast.

I don’t know how many e-mails the agency withheld. But some e-mails that I know exist — such as Graham’s resignation e-mail and correspondence with the CCDC board about the now canceled project at 7th Avenue and Market Street — have never been provided as part of this request.

CCDC attorney Gus Lamanna, who works for Los Angeles-based Kane Ballmer Berkman, refused to discuss my request on the record. I refused to discuss its status off the record (meaning that I wouldn’t be able to print what he said).

As it stands now, CCDC has had almost three months to provide Graham’s e-mails. The agency has not given me any estimated date of completion. Lamanna refused to do so today. He only said that he would call when more records became available.

That runs counter to the law. The relevant state law specifically entitles me, or any member of the public, to an estimated completion date. We’re also entitled to know what the agency withheld and why.

CCDC’s previous law firm, which has since resigned, estimated in late August that my request would be finished by Sept. 6. Since that date passed and after the firm stepped down, I’ve never been given any estimate of a date when the records will be released.

We’ll keep updating this as we work to get the records.


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