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PJC Argues to Uphold Public Access to Documents and Meetings

On July 24, 2006, the Public Justice Center and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland filed an amicus brief in City of Baltimore Development Corporation v. Carmel Realty Associates, in Maryland's Court of Appeals. This case concerns the power of government to evade accountability to the public by outsourcing essential services to quasi-private corporations. 
 
The City of Baltimore Development Corporation ("BDC") is Baltimore's economic development arm and manages the City's urban renewal projects.  Carmel Realty Associates own properties in an area of the City designated for such urban renewal, and is fearful of losing their properties through eminent domain.  Carmel Realty Associates attempted to review the documents in BDC's possession concerning the development of their properties under the Maryland's Public Information Act and to attend BDC's meetings regarding that development pursuant to Maryland's Open Meetings Act.  BDC, however, denied access to the documents and meetings, arguing that as a private, nonprofit corporation, it is not obligated to permit public access to any of its documents or meetings.  On appeal, the Court of Special Appeals held that BDC is a "quasi-public corporation carrying on public business," and must comply with the Public Information and Open Meetings laws.  The City appealed to the Court of Appeals,. where our amicus brief urges the Court of Appeals to uphold the lower court's decision and preserve open and accountable government, so critical to a well-functioning democracy. 
 
David Rocah, Deborah Jeon, Jonathan Guy and Kathleen Orrick represented the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland. Suzanne Sangree, Appellate Director, and Roscoe Jones Jr., Murnaghan Fellow handled the case for PJC.
Click here to read the brief.

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