I received a statement from mayoral spokeswoman Rachel Laing attempting to clarify a recent flare up over the schoobrary.

Last week, local activist Ian Trowbridge threatened to sue the city to compel it to turn over the donor pledge agreements for the downtown main library that he believes are in the city’s possession.

Laing said she wanted to make clear that the city does not have them.

The mayor’s office does not have, nor has it ever had, possession of the private donor list, pledge letters, letters reconfirming the pledges, or any other documentation that gives the identity of the library donors who wish to remain anonymous at this time. We were shown this documentation in a meeting but never were given copies.

The documents contain information that would identify donors who have pledged $27.5 million for construction of the library. But the Library Foundation, which has raised that money, has said it won’t reveal the names of those donors until the project is put out to bid. Instead, it has worked with the city to assure officials that the money really is available for the project without having to publicly disclose the sources of those funds.

Trowbridge submitted a Public Records Act request asking the city to provide those letters, but was told the city didn’t have them. Last week, he threatened to sue.

I reported on July 7 that, according to Laing, the city had been “provided with certified letters proving the pledges are backed by real funds.”

That was my way of paraphrasing a direct quote from Laing that I included in a July 1 report, in which Laing said, “We were shown certified letters to show that these were real pledges with money behind them. They were recent, updated recommitments.”

In the threat to sue last week, Trowbridge’s lawyer cited my July 7 paraphrase as a direct statement from Laing. He asked that the city either turn over the documents or retract the statement that it had been provided those letters — presumably interpreting the word “provided” to indicate the city physical possessed the letters.

Last week, Laing said this: “I never said that we were given the letters. I said that we were presented letters. If we had the letters, we would have to turn them over.”


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