Beshear: Too soon to say whether taxpayer-funded aluminum company is a 'public agency'
It’s too soon to determine whether Braidy Industries, the aluminum manufacturing company in which Kentucky taxpayers are a big shareholder, is a “public agency” that must disclose its records like state and local government.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It’s too soon to determine whether Braidy Industries, the aluminum manufacturing company in which Kentucky taxpayers are a big shareholder, is a “public agency” that must disclose its records like state and local government, according to Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office.
Beshear’s office ruled that Braidy Industries did not violate the Kentucky Open Records Act when it denied WDRB News’ request for documents, such as the company’s budget, last month.
In May, Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration borrowed $15 million of public funds to buy stock in Braidy Industries as part of convincing the start-up company to build a $1.3 billion aluminum rolling mill in Kentucky instead of a neighboring state.
Braidy plans to build break ground on the factory in Greenup County, just outside Ashland, next year and to start production in 2020.
As an early investor, Kentucky taxpayers own at least 20 percent of Braidy Industries, though the company’s CEO said earlier this month that the state’s share will eventually shrink to a "much smaller" amount as Braidy Industries raises more equity.
While Braidy Industries was organized in Delaware as a private company, state law says any “body” which gets at least 25 percent of the funds it spends in Kentucky within its fiscal year from state or local government funds must comply with the Open Records Act.
Public agencies have to make their papers, emails and other records available to the public upon request.
Because Braidy Industries was formed in March and hasn’t yet completed a fiscal year, it’s too soon to determine whether the company meets the threshold, Beshear’s office said in a decision dated Nov. 16.
“This case is unique insofar as Braidy has not existed for an entire fiscal year as of yet,” assistant Attorney General Michelle D. Harris wrote in the decision. “When viewed in light of the relevant statutory language, the unrefuted facts validate Braidy’s position.”