New Lawsuits Against Jefferson County Government Demand Transparency on Rockwool
CHARLES TOWN, WV. Today Jefferson County Vision filed Freedom of Information lawsuits against the Jefferson County Commission (JCC) and the Jefferson County Development Authority (JCDA) demanding the release of documents that have been withheld related to the government-sponsored Rockwool heavy industrial project. Both the JCC and the JCDA are stonewalling legitimate requests for information about the government’s ongoing, secretive work on behalf of Rockwool, a foreign company attempting to build an insulation factory near Jefferson County schools. Charles Town law firm Arnold & Bailey filed both suits today on behalf of Jefferson County Vision, a local nonprofit organization.
In its suit against the JCC, Jefferson County Vision challenges the redaction of important communications between two JCDA Board Members and the JCC that suggest some of our elected officials felt intimidated and threatened over the vote on the water bond. The JCDA Board Members disclosed to the JCC with serious concerns about the JCDA process on Rockwool related projects. They said that JCDA executives failed to provide even basic information to the JCDA Board of Directors about the Rockwool water bond before the Board was expected to vote on it.
JCDA Board Members also raised concerns regarding an “executive session” for the water bond. The JCC redacted and refused to release the details of the JCDA members’ specific concerns. Communications at that government meeting are a matter of public concern and not the type of internal executive deliberations intended to be shielded by the Executive Session laws. The complete redacted memos are exhibits in the legal filing and can be seen here.
In its lawsuit against the JCDA, Jefferson County Vision seeks documents and communications from the closed-door Bavarian Inn meeting in August 2018. That meeting included seven Rockwool executives and officials from the federal, state, and local governments.