MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) — The Governor’s Office cleared a hurdle Thursday in keeping certain communications confidential in the lawsuit between the Baldwin County Bridge Company and the Alabama Department of Transportation Director.
The legislative Contract Review Committee approved the Governor’s Office’s request for $50,000 to retain Maynard, Cooper & Gale to help protect “privileged” information in the case Baldwin County Bridge Company LLC v. ALDOT Director John Cooper.
“In the course of making this decision and litigating this case, this company has tried to seek some privileged documents not only from the director of ALDOT but also from the Governor’s office,” Will Parker with the Governor’s Office told the committee.
Last October, the Baldwin County Bridge Company sued Cooper over ALDOT’s plans to build a bridge about a mile away in Gulf Shores from their toll bridge in Orange Beach, saying in the lawsuit that this new bridge could force them out of business.
The Governor’s Office said ALDOT’s goal is to ease traffic.
“The director of transportation has tried to help solve solutions to decongest traffic down there — wanted to build a bridge,” Parker said.
The committee, which requires a quorum of one lawmaker and had two present Thursday, gave the greenlight to the contract.
Mobile Rep. Chris Pringle defended the decision when asked whether this creates any transparency concerns, saying this is similar to how other confidential issues are handled.
“There’s confidentiality in the legislature,” Pringle said. “We have attorneys that represent us in these cases when we’re asked for confidential correspondence, they represent us. Every department has it. It’s no different than any other department or legislative body.”
There was a hearing for an injunction in February to stop construction on the new bridge. That hearing has been continued until April 19.