Lawsuit says city delayed records

The demolition company battling the city of Augusta on two legal fronts initiated a third Wednesday.

This time, Thompson Building Wrecking Co. has filed a petition for mandamus in Richmond County Superior Court. The legal action seeks a court order to force the city to do what Thompson contends is the city's legal obligation: honor an Open Records Act request.

On March 20, the demolition company filed a request to review city documents about the bids for 42 business contracts.

Specifically, the company asked to review the prices of all bidders for the individual projects, including the prices of those who were rejected, and the evaluation forms used to score the bidders on each project.

According to the petition attorney Robert A. Mullins filed for Thompson, all of the city's procurement department documentation is public record.

A public entity has three days to comply with an Open Records Act request, according to Georgia statute.

The legal petition contends the city had not responded to the Open Records Act request after seven days.

A lawsuit represents only one side of a dispute. The city will have 30 days to respond.

Thompson already has lawsuits against the city pending in Richmond County Superior Court and in U.S. District Court.

In each lawsuit, the company alleges the city's bidding process is arbitrary to the point of infringing on the rights of businesses to fairly compete for the city's contracts. Three other companies joined Thompson in the federal lawsuit.

A federal court order is in place that prohibits the city from using race as a factor in determining who should win any bids.

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