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March 15, 1999

Ms. Judy Ponder
General Counsel
General Services Commission
P.O. Box 13047
Austin, Texas 78711-3047

OR99-0727

Dear Ms. Ponder:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Texas Open Records Act (the "act"), chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 122724.

The General Services Commission (the "commission") received requests from four requestors for information concerning competing bid proposals submitted to the commission in response to "RFP #4-1098RC, Contract Rental Cars." In response to the request, you submit to this office for review the information which you assert is responsive. You explain that some of the requested information may be proprietary in nature and protected from disclosure by section 552.110 of the Government Code. We have considered the exception you claim and have reviewed the information at issue.

Initially, we note that the four requestors have requested information concerning two or more of the other bid proposals. Based on the submitted information, it appears that the bidders were Advantage Rent A Car ("Advantage"), Avis Rent A Car ("Avis"), Dollar Rent A Car ("Dollar"), Enterprise Rent-A-Car ("Enterprise"), Hertz Corporation ("Hertz"), and National Car Rental ("National"). You explain that "[w]hile reviewing the documents, GSC noticed that the bid response submitted by [National] was preceded by a statement as to the 'Proprietary and Confidential' nature of the information in the bid. . . . [Enterprise] cover letter contained a statement of the company's belief that 'all documentation submitted inresponse to this RFP is confidential by law.'"(1) Apparently, in reliance on Enterprise and National's confidentiality claims, your office has made a determination, "[w]ithout taking a position," that only these two bid proposal responses may be confidential.

We note, however, that pursuant to section 552.301(b), a governmental body is required to submit to this office a copy of the specific information requested or representative samples, labeled to indicate which exceptions apply to which parts of the documents. Since you have not submitted the information concerning the other bidders, other than Enterprise and National's bid proposals, we restrict the application of this ruling only to the bid proposals submitted by Enterprise and National. See generally Gov't Code 552.352. (act imposes criminal penalties for release of confidential information). We further note that the section 552.110 third-party interests implicated by the four submitted requests may not be waived by a governmental body. Open Records Decision No. 592 (1991).

Since the property and privacy rights of a third party may be implicated by the release of the requested information, this office, based on your representations and submission, notified Enterprise and National about the requests for information. See Gov't Code 552.305 (permitting interested third party to submit to attorney general reasons why requested information should not be released); Open Records Decision No. 542 (1990) (determining that statutory predecessor to Gov't Code 552.305 permits governmental body to rely on interested third party to raise and explain applicability of exception in Open Records Act in certain circumstances). The notification states that if the company does not respond within 14 days of receipt, this office will assume that these companies have no privacy or property interest in the requested information. Since neither Enterprise nor National responded to our notification, we assume that their company has no property or privacy interest in the information. Therefore, we have no basis to conclude the information about Enterprise or National is excepted from required public disclosure.

We are resolving this matter with an informal letter ruling rather than with a published open records decision. This ruling is limited to the particular records at issue under the facts presented to us in this request and should not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have questions about this ruling, please contact our office.

Sincerely,

Sam Haddad
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

SH/nc

Ref.: ID# 122724

Enclosures: Submitted documents

cc: Ms. Traci Esch
Advantage Car Rental
P.O. Box 5-D
San Antonio, Texas 78216
(w/o enclosures)

Ms. Cheryl Boles
Avis Rent A Car
4960-A Wright Road
Houston, Texas 77032-5212
(w/o enclosures)

Mr. Morris L. Grace
Dollar Rent A Car
10115 McAllister Freeway
San Antonio, Texas 78216
(w/o enclosures)

Mr. Richard Janicki
Enterprise Rent-A-Car
701 East Ben White Blvd.
Austin, Texas 78704
(w/o enclosures)

Mr. Bryan Lynch
Hertz Corporation
10219 John Saunders
San Antonio, Texas 78216
(w/o enclosures)

Mr. Rob Engels
Director-National Accounts
National Car Rental
300 East Carpenter Freeway, Suite 1450
Irving, Texas 75062
(w/o enclosures)

Mr. Kevin Cowley
1323 Hallmark
San Antonio, Texas 78216
(w/o enclosures)

Ms. Hadassah Schloss
Open Records Coordinator
General Services Commission
P.O. Box 13047
Austin, Texas 78711-3047
(w/o enclosures)


 

Footnotes

1. We note that information is not confidential under the Open Records Act simply because the party submitting it to a governmental body anticipates or requests that it be kept confidential. Open Records Decision No. 479 (1987).
 

POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US
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