The law firm of Ward Lee & Coats has had to sue the City of Claremore two times in three years for violating the Oklahoma Open Records Act.
The first time, in 2011, was for refusing to turn over police dash cam recordings, a subject that has been discussed several times on this blog. The second time was in March of this year when the City of Claremore and City Attorney Matt Ballard failed to provide financial records pertaining to the first lawsuit with our firm. We had originally requested these records in January, and Claremore didnt provide them. We requested them again in February, and once again Claremore failed to provide them. So finally in March we had to sue them again.
Claremore’s City Attorney for both of these incidents was Claremore Attorney Matt Ballard; for both of these blatant violations we had to sue the City of Claremore. Claremore was even recognized by the Freedom of Information Oklahoma this year with an honorable mention for its annual Black Hole Award that is given out to “recognize an individual, agency or organization that has most thwarted the free flow of information.”
[titled_box title=”Tulsa World – Oklahoma Freedom of Information awards presented for Sunshine Week” variation=”olive”]The City of Claremore received an honorable mention for the Black Hole Award as a result of police and city attorney Matthew Ballard unsuccessfully fighting to keep dash-cam videos out of public record.[/titled_box]
Having all this in mind, City Attorney Matt Ballard (who is running for District Attorney for Craig, Mayes, and Rogers Counties) recently stood in front of a TV camera and claimed to be “transparent.”
Having had the City of Clarmore sued twice by our law firm for trying to keep public records secret is far from “transparent.” It is laughable to think Mr. Ballard can look into a TV camera and say “Well tonight I presented myself as who I am. Im transparent.”
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