Mum’s the Word, Cops Tell Texas AG

     DALLAS (CN) – The Dallas Police pension system claims it need not release information about a luxury residential developer it promised $18 million, for fear it will scare away tenants and destroy “hundreds of millions of dollars” in property values.
     The Dallas Police and Fire Pension System sued the Texas Attorney General’s Office in Travis County Court.
     It claims it received an open records request on June 11 that asked for information about properties owned by wholly owned subsidiary KLH IV LP, also known as Knudson Luxury Housing.
     The pension system says it made some of the information available, then asked the Attorney General’s Office to find that other information – such as tenant information and marketing and pricing strategies – exempt from release.
     But on Sept. 4, Assistant Attorney General James J. Coggeshall told the pension system to release all information other than what the state marked as exempt under common law privacy and the Texas Government Code.
     The pension plan claims, “The confidentiality of certain information pertaining to the leasing and sales prices and lease and sales concessions are key to both the value that can be achieved in the rental and sales of such real estate. The disclosures requested and approved by the Office of the Attorney General would harm the trust assets and undermine the ability of the system as well as all Texas public pension funds to serve the best interests of their members and would undermine the fiduciary duties of their board of trustees. Further, revealing certain of the information requested as to the identity of persons who have rented certain truly unique, one-of-a-kind luxury properties, would not just discourage some renters but would likely cause these unique properties to go completely vacant.”
     The pension system claims it has the right to exemptions for competitive advantages and will continue to withhold the documents until the case is resolved.
     In July 2006, the system’s board approved an initial $10 million investment in KLH. Three months later, it approved an increase in the investment to $18 million, according to board minutes.
     The pension system seeks declaratory judgment.
     It is represented by Gary Lawson with Strasburger Price of Dallas.

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