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August 18, 1999

Ms. Tracy B. Calabrese
Assistant City Attorney
City of Houston
P.O. Box 1562
Houston, Texas 77251-1562

OR99-2235

Dear Ms. Calabrese:

You ask this office to reconsider our decision in Open Records Letter No. 99-0922 (1999). Your request for reconsideration was assigned ID# 125621.

Open Records Letter No. 99-0922 concerned the applicability of section 552.127 of the Government Code to information responsive to a request for "all research files" regarding Environmental Delivery Services, Inc. You have provided the requestor with the information ruled upon by OR99-0922, with the exception of two pieces of information that this office had failed to mark as falling within the section 552.127 exception: (1) the name of the owner of the company and (2) the sex and ethnicity of the owner. Essentially, you ask for clarification of our markings in regards to this information and ask us to reconsider whether our ruling applies to this information.

Section 552.127 reads in relevant part as follows

(a) Information submitted by a potential vendor or contractor to a governmental body in connection with an application for certification as a historically underutilized or disadvantaged business under a local, state, or federal certification program is excepted from [required public disclosure], except as provided by this section.

(b) Notwithstanding Section 552.007 and except as provided by Subsection (c) the information may be disclosed only:

(1) ...

(B) for the purpose of conducting a study of a public purchasing program established under state law for historically underutilized or disadvantaged businesses; or

(2) with the express written permission of the applicant or the applicant's agent.

(c) Information submitted by a vendor or contractor or a potential vendor or contractor to a governmental body in connection with a specific proposed contractual relationship, a specific contract, or an application to be placed on a bidders list, including information that may also have been submitted in connection with an application for certification as a historically underutilized or disadvantaged business, is subject to required disclosure, excepted from required disclosure, or confidential in accordance with other law.

You state

The City does not normally obtain the names of the owners of companies with whom the City contracts or may contract, nor does the City obtain information regarding the company owner(s)' race/ethnicity. This is information that is submitted by a company to the City only in connection with an application for certification as a historically underutilized or disadvantaged business under the City's Minority and Women Business Enterprises (M/WBE) program.

As you represent that the information at issue is submitted by a company to the city only in connection with an application for certification as a historically underutilized or disadvantaged business, we conclude that the city may withhold the information from required public disclosure based on section 552.127(a) of the Government Code. To the extent that our markings of the information at issue in Open Records Letter No. 99-0922 conflict with this determination, you may withhold that information in accordance with this letter.

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

Sincerely,

Rebecca L. Payne
Chief
Open Records Division

RLP/nc

Ref.: ID# 125621

Encl. Submitted documents

cc: Ms. Paula R. Robertson
Gordon & Robertson
7670 Woodway, Suite 268
Houston, Texas 77063
(w/o enclosures)


 

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