Background: During the Devon Center Task Force work in 2019, the planning consultant Lisa Thomas was asked at a public meeting if she had worked for developer Eli Kahn, who owns land in the Devon area and had submitted a proposal for a large apartment, hotel, and garage complex. Ms. Thomas replied “no.”
A Task Force member provided a newspaper article mentioning the role that the Glackin Thomas firm played in Mr. Kahn’s large development on King Street in Malvern. The township then conducted an “investigation” of this potential conflict of interest.
At a Task Force meeting it was announced that while her firm had in fact worked on Mr. Kahn’s Malvern project, she had not personally spent time on it, and there was no conflict of interest.
Several residents requested documents relating to the “investigation” under the state Right-to-Know law.
Township Withholds Documents: The Township responded by “redacting” every document relating to its so-called investigation by actually blacking out all 87 pages as if they were a Top Secret CIA memorandum.
Berwyn resident John Leone has appealed the Township’s action to the state office of Open Records in Harrisburg. Mr. Leone and the township have submitted letters with their legal arguments on the claims of “privilege.”
The Open Records Office has requested the Township to submit all 87 pages to it for an “in camera review” to determine whether any are in fact privileged documents.
The Open Records Office also offers parties an opportunity to mediate the dispute in a non-binding discussion to see if it can be resolved. Mr. Leone has agreed to mediate. The Township has refused to. A decision is expected in January.
The public is left to wonder, what is the Township hiding?
Why is the Township spending money on lawyers when it can waive any claim of privilege and make the documents public?
Why wouldn’t the Township agree to mediate?
What is the Township afraid of?