Pittsburgh-area officials signed NDAs that could shield incentives offered to Amazon for up to five years

Public Source: Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration carefully orchestrated how the state would maintain a competitive edge as it helped Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and other entities vie to be the home for Amazon’s second headquarters.

Keeping the details of the incentive package close to the vest was chief among the priorities to ensure bids coming out of Pennsylvania had an advantage. Non-disclosure agreements were signed in early to mid-October, before a bid was ever submitted to Amazon. And Wolf’s officers wrote in a clause, reserving the right to keep information about the state’s quest for HQ2 under wraps for up to five years.

Terry Mutchler, the former executive director of the state’s Office of Open Records and the attorney representing PublicSource, said the promise is moot because it is law that the bid will be made public.

“Obviously there’s a common-sense approach to release of information in a situation like this, but the public shouldn’t be kept in the dark until it’s signed, sealed and delivered,” she said. “At that point, they have no say.”

Published by Mutchler Lyons

Partners Terry Mutchler and Charlie Lyons joined forces to create a new firm dedicated to serving a wide array of clients as they navigate the growing and critically important area of Transparency Law. Mutchler Lyons manages client challenges at the intersection of Media, Law and Government, with a focus on helping agencies, corporations and the media navigate open records, freedom of information, and right to know laws.