City of Baltimore Development Corporation v. Carmel Realty Associates was a case before the Maryland Court of Appeals in 2006 concerning the application of records law to private, publicly funded corporations.
This case established a number of precedents:
1.) The Maryland Open Meetings Act applies to private corporations who were either created by a government agency or whose members are appointed by a government agency.
2.) Entities who serve an instrumental role with regard to the actions of government agencies but who were not created by those government agencies are still subject to the Maryland Public Information Act.
- The City of Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) was a non-profit founded in 1991 with the expressed intention of promoting economic development within Baltimore.
- In 1999 the Baltimore City Council passed an amendment establishing a major Urban Renewal Plan. As a part of this plan, per city ordinance, the BDC was given a number of responsibilities, including coordinating between developers and current business owners, and dispensing financial aid to current business owners who wished to renovate.
- On October 27, 2003, BDC requested development proposals from the businesses within the development project.
- On October 23, 2004, Carmel Realty Associates requested copies of all of the requested proposals as well as any meeting minutes from BDC board meetings where they discussed the proposals.
- On November 9, 2004, BDC rejected the request, claiming that it was not subject to the Maryland Public Information Act because it was a private, non-profit corporation.
- On November 18, 2004, Carmel Realty requested information on the board meetings of the BDC so as to attend the meetings. The BDC failed to respond to the request.
- On November 29, 2004, Carmel Reality filed suit in circuit court, claiming that BDC was in violation of the Maryland Public Information Act and the Maryland Open Meetings Act.
- On June 8, 2005, the circuit court ruled in favor of the BDC, granting them exemption.
- The decision was appealed to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals who overturned the decision of the trial court. This decision was appealed to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals for a final decision.
Ruling of the court
The circuit court ruled in favor of the BDC determining that they were not a public body under the Maryland Public Information Act. The Court of Special Appeals overturned the decision of the trial court and ordered the documents released, rendering the BDC a public body subject to Maryland law.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Court of Special Appeals, officially overruling the trial court and instead ruling in favor of Carmel Realty.
The Court of Appeals determined that, while it does not possess the power of eminent domain, the BDC does in fact function as an important part of the exercise of that power. The court went on to determine that while the DBC was not an entity under the Maryland Open Meetings Act's definition found in statute 10-502(h)(1) because it was not created by a state agency, it did however fall under the second definition of public entity found in 10-502(h)(2) because its members are appointed by the mayor of Baltimore. The court went on to determine that the BDC had no essentially private functions and only served in a public capacity in the place of the city. Based on these facts, the court determined that the BDC was in fact an agency subject to the state open meetings law. The court established a similar finding with regard to the Maryland Public Information Act where they determined that the BDC served as an instrumentality of the City, thus bringing the BDC under the scope of the open records law. Thus, the court overruled the decision of the trial court and established that the BDC was in fact an agency subject to the Maryland open records and public meetings laws.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Ruling of the Court