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Municipal Chapter 9 Cases

Open Records/Open Meetings Issues Still Apply

By: Laura Day DelCotto

Most bankruptcy attorneys (as well as bankruptcy judges) do not normally run up against “open records” laws in the vast majority of their work. Of course, the local government leadership and all public officials are very well versed in proper procedures and application in their day to day job responsibilities.   

Kentucky’s Attorney General’s Office has produced this recent publication on duties and compliance with Open Records and Open Meetings laws. This is a valuable resource for any attorneys who are not familiar with the guidelines.   

Kentucky’s Open Meetings Act

Kentucky’s Open Meetings Act is contained in KRS 61.800-.850, and the Open Records Act at KRS 61.870-.884.  This 2019 Publication not only contains an overview for compliance, but helpfully also contains sample forms for open records and open meeting responses. It is well-advised to think ahead to each open meeting (council meetings) to be prepared in case a concerned citizen or the press is present and raises the concerns. If a chapter 9 is in contemplation, arguably it is a “legal proceeding”. This means a closed session is appropriate, but there is scant legal authority on this point.

All restructuring work involves a heightened level of candor and scrutiny. Best to always remember that what you write or say may end up in the public view. Emails are notorious for containing less than professional and civil discourse. Therefore, it is often embarrassing when filed in the court record. Chapter 9 has many special provisions including extensive “eligibility” requirements. These are to be proven by the municipal debtor, often in an evidentiary and contested court process. Advance planning and candor are even more important in municipal settings. Both are for Open Records reasons but also for bankruptcy court reasons as well.  

About DelCotto Law Group

DelCotto Law Group is Kentucky’s asset protection law firm known for its commitment to the lifetime success of its clients. With offices located in Lexington, Louisville and Danville, DLG serves Kentuckians with complicated financial matters, especially in the areas of bankruptcy and complex litigation. For more information please call (859) 231-5800, email info@dlgfirm.com or reach us on our contact page.

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