Secret of Secret Meeting Revealed

As you know, we’ve been following the case of the Javanon Soccer Club’s building in the East End. When the Board of Zoning Adjustments held a secret, illegal meeting (a clear violation of the state’s Open Meetings law) prior to its April 20 meeting, it was hard to get answers from officials about how the meeting was called.

So the V.V. filed an open records request, and reported that according to one of the e-mails sent by Javanon attorney Bill Bardenwerper, it certainly appeared that Bardenwerper suggested the meeting. Still, there was no documentation that Planning Director Charles Cash or Codes and Regulations Director Bill Schreck were involved in setting up the meeting.

Yesterday, however, we received an additional set of e-mails that make it clear who authorized the illegal meeting on the illegal building, and why County Attorney Mike O’Connell insisted that the decisions made in the April 20 meeting be re-heard.

From an April 13 response to Bardenwerper’s request, Cash wrote:

“For once, as much as I hate to admit it, I’ll have to say that I agree with Bill Bardenwerper.

I believe we should have a pre-meeting with the Board (possibly in two smaller groups to avoid the public notice question) to clarify their role public/performance.”

Schreck responded moments later, writing simply “I agree.”

So Cash obviously knew meeting in advance was wrong, and suggested that there might be a way to get around the public notice requirement. All at the suggestion of Bardenwerper.

We asked Connie Ewing, the Planning Department’s Public Information specialist, why these incriminating e-mails were not included in the original request, and she said they were originally excluded by the county attorney’s office citing attorney/client privilege. She said the county attorney reconsidered and released the e-mails.

Bill Patteson, spokesman for O’Connell, said the Planning Department had not previously submitted the e-mails in question for review.