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.

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Editorial: Newport News erects obstacles to access by imposing excessive costs for documents

The Tech Center at Oyster Point development was promoted as a critical economic development initiative with the potential to create a good many jobs. Its construction will radically change one of the most prominent intersections in Newport News. And ushering it to completion will require a substantial public investment by city taxpayers.

The newspaper continues to ask questions about the project and expects Newport News officials to be open and transparent in response.

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