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City of Cincinnati's Port Director Apologizes About Memo

City of Cincinnati's Port Director Apologizes About Memo

(Cincinnati)-  Emails and memos about the City of Cincinnati’s pricing deal are causing speculation as to whether or not the information was meant to be concealed from city leaders.

The memo, released earlier this week, states Cincinnati’s parking consultant’s concerns about ParkCincy’s financial model for the city. Walker Parking Consultants believe that the city is going to spend far too much money within a 30-year period on operating and management fees.

The memo was dated June 20, but was not given to City Council or Port Authority members until June 21 before the lease was signed.

Laura Brunner, the director of the Port of Cincinnati, had known about the memo prior to the release and claims that she did not try to keep information about the parking lease from the city officials and the public.

Brunner and Odis Jones, former Economic Development director of Walker Consultants, were emailing each other about how to delay its release.

“I’m ready to talk about this memo.  We certainly want to be as transparent as possible.  We met with PG [Sittenfeld, Councilman] on Monday with his financial advisor to answer questions.  Let me know when you want to talk,” Otis said in the email.

Bunner then replied, “Can we wait please? How does he know it exists?”

“Office called Sam to request a copy of the Walker letter sent last Friday night, should we provide that to him make sure we also provide my response as well as Walker response acknowledging that the Walker letter was uniformed and misguided as this is a fluent process and information has and will readily change,” Brunner said.

Brunner apologized on Tuesday for her statement, after the email was released to the public.

 “My intention was to gain understanding of the city’s plan for public release of the document written by Walker Parking Consultants,” Sittenfeld said in another email. “I just learned of it that day, and wanted the opportunity to share it with the Port Authority board of directors directly, rather than have them learn of it from a news report. It was a misguided attempt to coordinate timing of the release of this information, but instead it has caused hurt feelings, for which I am truly sorry.”

Sittenfeld believes that there should be an open relationship between council members and the agencies that they deal with. 

 

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