Terms of lawsuit settlement in Reeg case kept confidential

Terms of the settlement in the Carla Reeg civil rights case were “confidential,” but Findlay government’s monetary payments and attorney fees in the case are public matters, according to legal precedents.
On April 8, Law Director Don Rasmussen provided City Council members with a letter stamped “FYI,” explaining his request to appropriate $3,344 from the city’s self-insurance fund.
The money was to go toward “the settlement claim we reached in the Reeg matter that I discussed with you in executive session,” he wrote to council.
“I remind you that this settlement is confidential. I am providing this letter to you directly for your information only,” Rasmussen told council. “This letter will not be read at council.”
At its April 15 meeting, council gave the ordinance for the appropriation a first reading, with no discussion. The ordinance was given a second reading this week.
No explanation for the proposed appropriation was offered in the council meeting packets that are made available to the public prior to each regular council meeting.
The packets include information on matters that council is expected to consider, and other information such as committee meeting minutes.
The Courier on April 16 made a public records request that asked for copies of correspondence from this year labeled “FYI” that had been included in council members’ meeting packets but had not been released to the public.
Rasmussen’s April 8 letter was not provided until a reporter asked him about it in person. Rasmussen said he didn’t immediately release the letter because settlement details were still being completed and he didn’t want to jeopardize them.
The city released the document last week.
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