NSG Secures Important Appellate Victory for Government Transparency

By: Pam Zubeck; featuring Ian Speir

Dated: July 20, 2022

The Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled construction contracts, payment records and other documents from the InterQuest North Business Improvement District (INBID) in Colorado Springs must be disclosed.

The plaintiffs in the case, Timothy Leonard and the Deepwater Point Company of Evergreen, have been seeking the records through the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) since 2019.

“This is a significant victory for taxpayers and the public who wish to review and inspect exactly how their tax funds are being spent by a developer-controlled district board on the construction of public improvements,” Leonard said in an email to the Indy.

After the District Court issued orders in September 2021 that INBID, controlled by Norwood Development Group, withhold some records of its activities, Leonard appealed.

He and Deepwater asserted that INBID withheld public records regarding expenditure of public funds in violation of CORA. INBID’s board was dominated by Norwood officials and hired Norwood as a contractor for infrastructure work and issued bonds that were then purchased by Norwood.

“Construction contracts, plans, change orders, and invoices, cannot be hidden by developer-controlled special district boards from the taxpayers who want to see how their money is being spent,” Leonard said in a release regarding the appellate court ruling. “In this district, the developer is the landowner, board member, landlord, installer of public improvements, property manager, and holder of all the $25M of tax-exempt bonds. The taxpayers deserve some transparency and accountability.”

Ian Speir of Nussbaum Gleason PLLC, attorney for Leonard and Deepwater, said, “The Court reaffirmed CORA’s mandate of government transparency, observing that when requested records are tied to public funds, ‘CORA’s purpose is at its zenith.’ This decision should put an end to the practice of using third parties to suppress public expenditure documents from public view.”

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