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October 6, 1999

Ms. Mary Barrow Nichols
General Counsel
Texas Workers Compensation Commission
Insurance Fund
221 West 6th Street, Suite 300
Austin, Texas 78701-3403

OR99-2831

Dear Ms. Nichols:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 129101.

The Texas Workers' Compensation Insurance Fund (the "Fund") received an open records request for information pertaining to money management contracts between the Fund and a particular financial investment firm, including information on how this company was selected for the contract or contracts; letters, correspondence, memos and inter-agency communications connected to this contract or contracts, including but not limited to letters of recommendation or reference; any record of votes by the fund trustees on this contract or contracts; the terms of the contract; and a statement of funds paid directly or indirectly to [the management firm] as a result of this contract.

You inform this office that the record of the votes of the Fund's trustees has been released to the requestor. You further inform us that, after a diligent search, the records relating to the selection of the investment firm could not be located. You seek to withhold all of the remaining requested information pursuant to section 552.101 of the Government Code in conjunction with section 2(b) of article 5.76-3 of the Insurance Code.

Section 552.101 of the Government Code protects "information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision." Article 5.76-3, 2(b) provides in part that the Fund may "refuse to release information relating to claims, rates, the Fund's underwriting guidelines, and other information that would give advantage to competitors or bidders." You have submitted for our review a representative sample of the following categories of information: 1) an "Investment Manager Agreement", 2) an "Investor Management Guideline, 3) a synopsis of quarterly reports, and 4) a grouping of fee invoices.(1)

Based on your representations to this office, we conclude that you have demonstrated that the release of the records at issue would result in an economic advantage to the Fund's competitors. The Fund, therefore, may withhold the information at issue pursuant to article 5.76-3, 2(b) of the Insurance Code.

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,

Michael J. Burns
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

MJB/RWP/nc

Ref.: ID# 129101

Encl: Submitted documents

cc: Mr. R.G. Ratcliffe
Houston Chronicle
1005 Congress Avenue, Suite 770
Austin, Texas 78701
(w/o enclosures)


 

Footnotes

1. We assume that the "representative sample" of records submitted to this office is truly representative of the requested records as a whole. See Open Records Decision Nos. 499 (1988), 497 (1988). This open records letter does not reach, and therefore does not authorize the withholding of any other requested records to the extent that those records contain substantially different types of information than that submitted to this office.
 

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