Lawyer says city withheld records

An attorney fighting the city of Augusta over access to Procurement Department records amended the petition this week.

 

In new allegations, attorney Robert Mullins contends that the city's Procurement Department personnel either withheld information or altered documents concerning a service contract.

John Manton, one of the attorneys representing the city, said Wednesday morning that he had not seen a copy of the new amendment and could not comment.

The amendment was filed in the legal petition brought by the Association for Fair Government against the city. The petition is a mandamus - a request for a court order forcing a governmental entity to perform an official duty.

The original petition alleges that procurement records have been withheld. The Augusta Chronicle joined the lawsuit with allegations that Open Records requests have been met with unreasonable delays, fees and restrictions.

The amendment filed Tuesday alleges that Procurement Director Geri Sams filed documents in court last week that were not contained in a contract file Mr. Mullins reviewed earlier this month.

The contract for bus-cleaning services was awarded to a company owned by Wade Walker, a brother of former state Sen. Charles Walker.

Ms. Sams brought the records to a court hearing Friday, two days after Mr. Mullins alleged in another lawsuit that the contract awarded to CSRA Custodial Specialists cost taxpayers an additional $49,000.

Ms. Sams' documents, which allegedly represent five bids for the cleaning services, indicate that CSRA Custodial Specialists saves taxpayers $41,702.

The documents also contain wrong prices for one of the companies and inconsistent mathematical calculations.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.