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Judge: Boise must release cleaning dustup records

A judge has ordered the city of Boise to turn over documents related to the termination of a $368,000 contract with a cleaning company.

Clearview Cleaning Services owner Sylvia Hampel filed a complaint in April against the city in Idaho’s 4th District Court, claiming a contract for her company’s services was canceled without explanation.

Boise city officials canceled the contract Feb. 28, a day before Hampel’s company was scheduled to start cleaning city hall, public libraries, the police department and other facilities, the Idaho Statesman reported. Hampel sued city officials after they refused a public records request seeking more information about the contract termination.

The city claimed the documents were exempt from public disclosure and pertained to a “law enforcement investigation.”

In a ruling issued July 15, 4th District Judge Thomas Neville said the emails in question were not exempt.

“The city has held out all 10 of these documents as investigatory records of an active criminal investigation, and a review of the plain language of seven of the documents reveals that this is simply not the case,” Neville wrote in his ruling.

The judge ordered the city to turn over the 10 emails to Hampel.

In one of the emails, the Boise Police Department wrote city officials about the newly contracted cleaning crew and said the agency had opened an investigation. But the subject of the police inquiry was redacted from the email turned over to Hampel.

Hampel said she has requested a meeting with Boise Mayor Dave Bieter.

“I want him to explain why we were let go for no reason just hours before our contract was to begin,” Hampel said.

City spokesman Adam Park said the mayor’s office has not yet determined whether the request for a meeting will be granted. Park declined to answer further questions about the case, citing the pending litigation.

ABM Janitorial Services in Boise has held city cleaning contract since 2006. Clearview Cleaning Services won the contract during a competitive bidding process, but after the city dropped Hampel’s company, the contract was awarded to ABM Janitorial.

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