Judicial Watch Files Lawsuit Against Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon to Force Release of Security-Detail Logs
Judicial Watch made good on its pledge to slap Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon with a lawsuit because he and the city's legal advisers refuse to release "documents related to [Gordon's] taxpayer-funded security detail."
The government watchdog organization filed the suit on May 18, and also filed an "Application for Order to Show Cause," asking the court to force the city to file a response by June 7.
The lawsuit and the motion to expedite the case stems from the city's repeated refusal to release Gordon's security detail logs -- logs that track the mayor's daily movements and include information about who travels with him and who the security officers shuttled around, other than Gordon.
Jason Rose of Rose & Allyn (the flak Gordon hired last year to run deal with questions about Gordon's intimate relationship with his fundraiser Elissa Mullany) had conceded that on at least one occasion, Gordon's security detail drove Mullany home.
Judicial Watch requested the documents on November 16, several months after the city denied a similar request from the Arizona Republic to inspect then.
Gordon has been fighting to block the release of the public records from the moment they were first requested via e-mail in July 2009. In fact, just minutes after the request was filed early one Friday evening, Gordon called the reporter to find out why the logs were being requested and to make it clear that they would never be released for "security" reasons.
There is something in those logs that Gordon is clearly concerned about.
Phoenix City Attorney Gary Verburg has supported withholding the documents, claiming that disclosing records detailing the mayor's security detail's log of his movements would create a breach in Gordon's security that might put him in harms way.
Though the records are as much as three years old, city officials contend that someone intending to attack the mayor could establish a pattern of Gordon's whereabouts if they get their hands on his 2007, 2008, and 2009 security detail logs.
It's interesting to note that other high-ranking state officials, like Attorney General Terry Goddard, do not have security guards assigned to them.
Citing California case law, Verburg also argues that disclosing whom the mayor meets with throughout any given day would chill Gordon's ability to deliberate effectively. That is, Verburg actually throws out there, how could Gordon freely meet with individuals and discuss and deliberate city policy if the public knows whom he is meeting with?
Judicial Watch writes that "disclosure of the requested logs will help the public to appreciate the size, scope, and duties of the Mayor's police detail and the activities of the officers assigned to it, including whether the detail has been used for official purposes only or if it also has been used for non-official or personal purposes as well."
Given that Gordon's security details cost about $1 million per year, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton asserts, "This is a simple request for documents that should be readily available to the public. Phoenix taxpayers will be able to use these records to help determine whether the Mayor's publicly funded police detail is an appropriate use of scarce tax dollars."
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