Chandler Open Meeting Law Violation Still Standing
The lawsuit against the city of Chandler, Ariz., aimed at stopping Covance Inc. from building a giant animal-testing facility in Chandler has taken another turn. In a January 15 ruling, the Maricopa County Superior Court Judge left standing the count accusing the city of violating the open meeting law, saying it must be argued separately.
The lawsuit, brought by 12 Chandler residents and PCRM, accuses city officials of violating the Arizona Open Meeting Act and city ordinances in allowing Covance Laboratories to build an animal experimentation facility in the Chandler Airpark. PCRM is suing on behalf of its Chandler members.
Many Chandler residents are concerned about Covance’s Animal Welfare Act violations and poor record on public health issues. PCRM’s legal complaint notes that Covance has repeatedly imported primates infected with tuberculosis, Ebola, and other dangerous diseases. Covance has also refused to describe how it will safely dispose of the nearly 100,000 drug- and chemical-laden animal carcasses it will generate each year.
The lawsuit claims that city of Chandler officials participated in nonpublic meetings about Covance in which they discussed Covance’s plan to secretly abandon its original building site in favor of the rezoned Airpark property in violation of Arizona’s Open Meeting Law. Chandler officials deliberately withheld that critical information from Chandler residents while the Airpark rezoning was under way.
While the judge dismissed four other counts of the lawsuit, the Open Meeting Law violation suit remained open.
"The judge recognized that the Open Meeting Law violation was caused by secret backroom deals between Covance and Chandler city officials," said PCRM General Counsel Dan Kinburn, Esq.
PCRM Online, February 2008