Legal Analysis: Rockwool Deal is Not a Binding Contract For Local Government
CHARLES TOWN, WV. Because of overwhelming opposition to the government’s plan to put heavy industry by local schools, lawyers for Rockwool and their sponsors at the Jefferson County Development Authority (JCDA) have resorted to legal threats to try to force local officials into voting their way.
A new analysis by the Arnold & Bailey law firm reveals that Rockwool’s arguments are “self-serving“ and having a “chilling effect on our government representative’s lawful deliberative process.”
Download the letter (.pdf)
In a September 27, 2018 letter to the Jefferson County Commission, Arnold & Bailey explain that the Rockwool PILOT tax break and other Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) with local governments have contingencies that have not been met, and are therefore not binding contracts.
Further, Arnold & Bailey note that local governments and public officials are protected from lawsuits in their official duties, and officials are free to vote their conscience.
The letter details how West Virginia state law provides broad immunity for government representatives, and even specifically protects officials voting on bond measures. State law anticipates Rockwool-style legal threats against officials making multi-million dollar decisions, like the Rockwool water and sewer bonds.
Arnold & Bailey write, “Rockwool recognized the contingent nature of this Project and reserved the right in its agreements to pull out for any reason. Rockwool simply seeks to deny Jefferson County...the same option.”
Arnold & Bailey is representing Jefferson County Vision, the non-profit organization fighting to preserve the economy and quality of life in our community. The full letter is available as a .pdf at ToxicRockwool.com.
Direct link to letter: https://s3.amazonaws.com/www.jcvision.com/rockwool/jcc/JCC-Lttr-9-27-18.pdf