Saturday, October 06, 2007

Kraft says he was misquoted

City Attorney Warren Kraft sent a memo yesterday in which he makes the case that last weekend's story in the Northwestern about shielding the spending of public money from public view was quite incorrect.

The Northwestern published these paragraphs:

Documents obtained by The Northwestern show City Attorney Warren Kraft argued for project developer Ben Ganther to keep the lone set of financial records detailing how a $2.2 million city development assistance grant to 100 Block LLC was spent. Putting the records in Ganther's hands, Kraft wrote in e-mail messages to city staff, would shield the financial records from public review.

A Northwestern review also found the contract is the lone case where Oshkosh officials agreed to block public access to records of how city money was being spent on a taxpayer-backed project.

But Kraft, who says he was only following the since re-interpreted law as he understood it at the time, provides the full text of what he said about the records.

He made it clear that the public funds would be subject to public review.

Kraft wrote: "All we need to have are costs related to TIF expenses...." What he was shielding was the way the private parties involved were spending their own money.

Kraft also notes that the Court of Appeals no longer condones this practice and ruled earlier this year that all funds in a situation like this do have to be open to public review.

The parties to the receivership have agreed to make the records available, Kraft writes in his memo.

I can't say that I think that Kraft is exactly a legal genius, and I think a lot of the advice he gives to the Council is questionable.

But, this time at least, he seems to have been the target of unfair criticism.

We'll see what the Northwestern has to say about this.

Here's the link to Kraft's memo.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I clicked the link and it took me to a page with the 100 Main header, but the rest of the page was blank. Could you post the memo text on your blog please?

I would be very interested to read it. Thank you.

3:41 PM  

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