Louisville didn’t make the cut for Amazon HQ2. | Courtesy of YPAL

The administration of Mayor Greg Fischer intends to appeal a judge’s ruling last month that ordered the city to release the incentive proposal it submitted last year to Amazon, which attempted to convince the company to locate its new headquarters in Louisville.

“We intend to appeal, and the parties will be submitting an agreed order to the court to that end,” said mayoral spokeswoman Jean Porter in an emailed statement.

The Courier Journal sued the city in March, asserting that the administration’s refusal to turn over the Amazon HQ2 offer was in violation of the Kentucky Open Records Act. In a ruling on Sept. 24, Circuit Court Judge Susan Schultz Gibson sided with the newspaper due to Louisville’s proposal already being rejected, ordering the city to turn over a copy that was not heavily redacted within 10 days.

Porter provided no reasoning for why the city would appeal the ruling, only saying that this would be detailed in the appeal when it is filed.

Both the newspaper and the city agreed to a proposed joint order that was filed with Judge Gibson on Wednesday, which would speed up the process of the Court of Appeals hearing the case and stay the effect of her ruling during the pendency of any appeal. Gibson is expected to approve of such an order within the next two weeks.

Fischer and his economic development team have decried efforts to force the administration to publicly reveal the details of their behind-the-scenes efforts to woo prospective businesses to the city, claiming that such disclosure would create a “competitive disadvantage” for Louisville related to other peer cities.

In the first mayoral debate last week, Fischer said that revealing such secrets would amount to “business malpractice,” and has described calls for his administration to reveal the names of prospective business guests it spends over $100,000 on at the Kentucky Derby “really stupid.”

Jon Fleischaker, the attorney for the Courier Journal, called Gibson’s ruling “a win for the public,” as “the city made an offer for something in excess of $2 billion to Amazon and there had been no transparency to the public about it. And the public has a right to know when they’re dealing with that kind of tax revenue.”

This story may be updated.

Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]


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