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City facing lawsuit for not disclosing secretive airport deal records 

click to enlarge The Indy received a highly redacted lease agreement linked to the deal in October 2018.
  • The Indy received a highly redacted lease agreement linked to the deal in October 2018.

Fourth Estate News LLC, a new web-based news-gathering operation and think tank run by a former Gazette owner, has filed a lawsuit against the city challenging a denial of records under the Colorado Open Records Act.

Fourth Estate, owned by Tim Hoiles, filed the lawsuit on Dec. 28 after the city denied its multiple requests for records about the city's pending sale of airport property to an unnamed buyer.

"Colorado Springs has taken the unprecedented step of approving a substantial sale of public land to a secret purchaser, under the guise of protecting 'trade secret' information," the lawsuit says. "The city continues to wrongly hide the identity of the approved purchaser of land from public disclosure."

Although the buyer hasn't been officially named, speculation is that Amazon will purchase some 80 acres for use as a distribution point. The city didn't respond with a comment by the Indy's press time.

Hoiles tells the Indy via email, "In my opinion, the City of Colorado Springs consistently attempts to mask their negotiations, operations and full financial disclosure. Fourth Estate News LLC is only seeking the information that the City of Colorado Springs keeps in the shadows from the residents of the City which they should be provided."

Fourth Estate also filed a motion seeking a hearing at which the city would have to demonstrate why the records can't be released in compliance with the Colorado Open Records Act.

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