Local Attorney Files Motion to Make Mountain Water Valuation Public [YouTube] [DOCUMENT]
Missoula attorney Quentin Rhoades has filed a motion in District Court on behalf of a local organization to make the recently completed valuation of Mountain Water Company public.
"We're asking the District Court to enter an order allowing our clients, Advocates For Missoula's Future, to intervene in the case for the purpose of requesting the court to unseal the statement of just compensation that Mountain Water sent to the City of Missoula," Rhoades said. "That's the document that is basically the asking price for Mountain Water. The city and the city council has been privy to that information to consider in closed session, but it has never been made public."
Rhoades contends in the motion that the information should be a matter of public record.
"It's our argument that as a judicial filing, it is statutorily defined as a public writing, and Montanans have a right to see public writings," he said. "There's no individual privacy rights at stake here that could weigh against that, and we think it's almost as open and shut as a case can get."
Rhoades said Judge Karen Townsend has no legal reason to keep the information from the public.
"If you look carefully at the court filing, she hasn't entered an order that specifically says the document should be sealed," he said. "The parties have kind of assumed that's what she meant, or has entered into a kind of 'gentlemen's agreement' that's what she meant, but we want to get it clarified."
Rhoades said not only should his clients, Advocates For Missoula's Future have access to the information, but that it should be disseminated to the media, so all Missoula residents can know the information.
The motion was filed on Friday at 8 a.m.