The Kanter Cover Up Continues
Meier “Spins” His End Game
By Susan M. Halpern
Former Addison Councilmember (1992-1999)
Addison continues to conceal documents I’ve requested relating to the Kanter fiasco, most notably Lea Dunn’s 19-page memo. Perhaps sensing that the memo is likely to be disclosed, Todd Meier is now trying to build deniability into the public record by rewriting his part of this unfortunate history. Meier is now telling people that he wants to disclose Lea Dunn’s memo, but is powerless to do so.
It’s all FALSE.
Make no mistake about it: Meier and his cadre have obstructed my Open Records Act request because releasing Lea Dunn’s memo and other documents would uncover their misrepresentations. There can be little question that Lea Dunn’s memo will refute Kanter’s accusations of non-cooperation, and expose Kanter’s inflammatory, one-sided presentations for the outrageous political ploy that they always were.
So let’s be clear about this: Meier and his group were at all times 100% in control of the decision to conceal Lea Dunn’s memo and other Kanter documents. That was true the day they first brought Kanter back to trash our Town in an effort to influence the election, and it remains true today. Any suggestion to the contrary is PATENTLY FALSE.
But that hasn’t stopped Meier from trying to change it all. This week, Meier told a citizen who has been vocal in pressing for the release of Lea Dunn’s memo that Meier “would be very much in favor of that document being released to the public,” and that he had previously “supported an effort to expedite this release” by asking the staff and Addison’s attorney to submit the matter to the Texas Attorney General. These statements are ABSOLUTE NONSENSE.
Make no mistake about it, Addison’s submission to the AG is arguing AGAINST DISCLOSURE. Addison seeks support from the AG to withhold Lea Dunn’s memo and other documents. To this day, Addison continues to press its position in favor of CONCEALMENT of these documents.
Submissions to the AG do not seek permission to produce documents. Not EVER. Submissions to the AG are not designed to “expedite” anything, much less the release of documents. Meier’s suggestions to the contrary are simply FALSE. Continuing to pursue the AG’s opinion is not the conduct of a council or Town that “favors” disclosure of these documents.
Meier also wrote to this citizen that he is “not doing anything to delay the release of any information.” Nonsense. Delay was the whole point of submitting the matter to the AG. And it’s worked well. I submitted my request in February. Here we are in May, and the key documents are still being concealed. Sorry, but in my world, that’s DELAY.
As grounds for non-disclosure, Meier cited the “attorney client privilege that was developed by our previous City Attorney John Hill.” Interesting language from Meier, who is an attorney. Privileges aren’t “developed,” by John Hill or anyone else. They either exist or they don’t. Second, it remains my view that the documents I am seeking cannot possibly be privileged. Indeed, I cannot fathom a set of circumstances under which Lea Dunn’s memo could be covered by the attorney-client privilege. My understanding is that it responded to Kanter’s allegations of non-cooperation and as such, did not seek or provide legal advice. Such a document cannot be privileged, whether it’s cc’ed to an attorney or not.
But even if I’m wrong about that, the choice to facilitate Kanter’s inflammatory accusations of non-cooperation against Addison’s prior staff and management in the most public of venues unquestionably acted as a WAIVER of any conceivable claim to privilege. If you publicly discuss what you claim is privileged, then your privileged days are over, and you must disclose ALL information about that subject.
You don’t have to be a lawyer to conclude that if Kanter is permitted to stand up and trash Addison and its prior staff and management, then the citizens of Addison are damn sure entitled to the other side of the story.
This is FACT: Addison could produce this document today. Addison is 100% in control of the process and the decision to continue to withhold this document, including by continuing to press for AG approval. There is no question that Meier and his cadre are standing in the way and are concealing Lea Dunn’s memo and other responsive documents. This is a COVER UP.
So what happens now? Well, the AG’s deadline for ruling is Wednesday, May 18, 2016. I spoke to their office Friday, May 13th, and they haven’t made a ruling. The person who answered the phone described the office as “slammed” and said they were “inundated” with requests for opinions. So now this “slammed” office has a little more than two business days to analyze the whole matter and produce a decision. That doesn’t bode well for those of us hoping for a thorough analysis. But, it remains to be seen.
In the meantime, Addison has been subjected to Kanter’s inflammatory, one-sided presentation and Meier’s outrageous political spin on the whole thing for long enough. The time has come to get the FACTS out, so that citizens can know the TRUTH and make their own judgments.
I’m hoping that with the installation of our new council, with a new direction and a new commitment to actual TRUTH and real TRANSPARENCY, we will finally see Addison make full disclosure. After all, real transparency starts with disclosure and TRUTH, two things that have been missing for far too long in Addison.
It will be a breath of fresh air to experience real transparency once again.