The Clarion-Ledger challenged a protective order that sealed the Tourism Sales Taxe Rebate program application for the Renaissance at Colony Park, LLC. The company is owned by developer Andrew Mattiace. Attorney Leonard Van Slyke filed the motion to intervene and request to vacate the protective order on behalf of the newspaper. JJ is considering challenging the protective order as well.
Reporter Sarah Fowler filed a request on Augusts 19 for "any and all information relating to the Renaissance (Phase II and Phase III), including, but not limited to the cultural tax rebate." JJ and Dr. Charles Bush filed public records requests for the application and other documents as well. The Mississippi Development Authority notified Mr. Mattiace of the request. Mr. Mattiace asked Hinds County Chancellor William Singletary to seal the entire application and supporting records on September 3. The Chancellor sealed the records on the same day.
The newspaper argued that it has a right to challenge the order as the order was granted with no notice given to any other parties. The petition states:
the Renaissance has made no showing that any of the requested information contains “trade secrets or confidential commercial or financial information” as set forth in Miss. Code Ann. §§ 25-61-9(1) or 79-23-1(1), nor has The Clarion-Ledger even been provided access to redacted copies of the “3650 pages of public records” found by the MDA to be responsive to the Request. For all of the reasons set forth above, the Protective Order should be vacated.