City Hall

Phoenix Officials Must Release Portions of Mayor Phil Gordon's Security-Detail Logs, Court of Appeals Rules

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, who only has about a week left in office, may be forced to release security-detail logs that track two years' worth of his movements.

The Arizona Court of Appeals reversed a ruling by a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Rea that protected those logs from being made public on the basis they contained confidential and security-related information.

The city has been in and out of court since May 2010 fighting to keep private the logs maintained by Gordon's security detail, a team of four Phoenix police officers.

The documents, created by the security detail, note how Gordon spent his days -- and who he spent them with -- while he was being shadowed by his taxpayer-funded bodyguards.

The latest legal opinion stems from a court battle Judicial Watch, a conservative think-tank based in Washington, D.C., initiated on May 2010 when it filed a complaint asking the Maricopa County Superior Court to compel Phoenix officials to produce the logs from December 30, 2007 to December 11, 2009 for inspection.

The lower court ruled that Phoenix didn't have to release the security-detail logs.

In reversing that decision, the appellate court said the judge erred in his ruling, in part, and directed city officials to redact confidential and security-related information from the logs and release the remaining information.

In another adverse ruling for Phoenix, the Court of Appeals judges upheld Judge Rea's ruling that the city "failed to demonstrate that the Mayor's privacy interest outweighs the public's interest" when it comes to inspecting the logs his security detail maintained for several years.
Phoenix city attorneys are still reviewing court documents and have not made any decisions on what steps they will next take, a city spokesman tells New Times.

A legal representative for the city was not available today to discuss how much money the city has spent in legal fees protecting Gordon's security-detail logs, or whether the city will continue defending him and the more than two-year old documents after he leaves office on January 3.

Read the Court of Appeals' entire opinion.

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Monica Alonzo
Contact: Monica Alonzo