State orders Pittsburgh to release agreements with nonprofits

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The state Office of Open Records has ordered the city of Pittsburgh to make public all agreements it has with nonprofit organizations for payments in lieu of taxes.

The state announced its decision today in a case initiated by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The city has 30 days in which to turn over the documents to the Post-Gazette. The city could appeal the decision to Common Pleas Court.

The Post-Gazette requested the documents in June. The city law department denied the request, saying the documents are not public records as defined in the state Right-To-Know Law.

In addition, the law department said, release of the records would violate confidentiality agreements between the city and the nonprofits making the donations.

The Post-Gazette appealed to the state Office of Open Records, which ruled that the agreements clearly document transactions of the city and are public records. The office said confidentiality clauses in such agreements are unenforceable.

The city, it said, "cannot circumvent the RTKL by including confidentiality clauses in public records."

The city had no immediate comment. neigh_city - breaking

Joe smydo: jsmydo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1548.


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