FOIA experts: Newport News $2M payment without public vote may have violated law

In Virginia, the Newport News City Council never took a public vote to authorize a $2 million settlement to a man in a recent wrongful conviction case — a common practice for local officials resolving lawsuits against the city that Freedom of Information Act experts say may violate state law.

The council authorized the city attorney to negotiate up to a certain undisclosed amount of money to settle the lawsuit in a closed session last year, but never took a public vote, City Attorney Collins L. Owens Jr. said.

Newport News city code designates who must authorize city settlements up to different amounts, but stops at $250,000. Continue…