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Letter to the Editor
It was extremely disappointing to read the Sun News/cleveland.com story this morning (October 25, 2018), regarding the amendment of a job creation and retention agreement with a private business, extending a pre-existing agreement by one year. (The Council Clerk had provided the reporter with copies of the extension agreement and legislation on September 23, 2018). That prior agreement was entered during the prior Council term and had gone through the city's annual financial audit by the State of Ohio.
The author of the story was informed that tax information he requested was confidential and may not be released. The city is scrupulous in protecting taxpayer confidentiality, particularly after a former councilman had faced criminal charges arising from a similar matter.
The city then referred the question to our Law Department, sought guidance from the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA), and asked the private business to voluntarily authorize release of the tax data, which was refused. Unfortunately, the reporter wrote the story before the City Law Department could complete its research.
Attached is a copy of an October 19, 2018 memo outlining the City Law Department's legal opinion regarding the confidentiality of this information, and confirming that it may not be released. I ask that this memo be disseminated in the same manner as the underlying story so that the city's legal position will be given fair and equal treatment.
Mayor Richard Dell'Aquila