BG Mayor Dismissed From Suit

By  | 

Warren Circuit Judge Steve Wilson has dismissed Bowling Green Mayor Sandy Jones from an open records request lawsuit surrounding the Convention Center Controversy.

Al Baker filed the request to obtain copies of documents from Jones and the City government regarding conversations about the Convention Center.

Baker alleges a "plot or scheme" on behalf of the mayor to settle allegations against former Convention Center Board member Steve Catron. Catron is now being sued by the city to recover more than $700,000 in alleged overbilling and missing public money.

Baker's open records request comes after a war of words on the editorial page of the Daily News, and after a November 2003 newspaper article regarding the controversy.

Baker's attorney says his client believes the mayor was willing to let the Catron matter go without seeking reimbursement in exchange for Catron and his firm waiving several thousand dollars worth of outstanding legal bills owed by the city, charges Jones denies.

"That was not part of my discussion with either one of those firms that if they do this, they will or won't do anything else, just a matter of waiving the balances no one wanted to pay based on the controversy," Jones says.

"If you take out of context and craft your own story which is what the Daily News has done, you can come up with just about anything you want by cutting and pasting. But I have nothing to hide from decisions or my problem solving conversations for the city."

Jones says she elected to turn over personal emails from the fall of 2003 regarding the Catron matter, and City Attorney Gene Harmon released 10 additional internal emails to Baker. But Baker's attorney says there should be more.

"We're still looking at whether or not there are more documents. The tone of the documents very strongly suggests that there are going to be more, more documents to come," says Matt Baker, Al Baker's son and attorney.

One of the Emails released by Jones, dated October 23, 2003 includes this phrase: "If we can workout the 'amnesty' and 'start over' approach that we discussed yesterday about BKD, I would like to approach Steve about washing off the entire balance in 'good faith and community spirit.'" Jones says all of her Emails refer only to asking that the outstanding bills be waived, but says she never offered anything in return.