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Open Records trial against Davenport wraps up

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City Administrator Craig Malin took the stand Thursday in a lawsuit filed against the City of Davenport and testified he signed a contract without City Council approval at the request of the city's attorney.

"[City Attorney Tom Warner] told me I could and should sign the contract and the council would ratify it afterwards," Malin said.

He also testified that he had a general directive from Mayor Bill Gluba and the City Council to aggressively pursue buying Rhythm  City Casino back in 2012.

"The bottom line is it would have been extraordinarily advantageous to the community to retain the gaming proceeds at this casino in the community, rather than have the proceeds exported to a corporate home in another state," Malin said.

The deal with the casino fell through.

The contract with Deloitte and Touche would wind up costing the city nearly $390,000 for an un-useable audit of the casino.

Malin needed council approval for any contract over $50,000.

Attorney Mike Meloy asked if the general directive from the council to pursue a casino authorized Malin to sign the contract.

Malin answered no.

Two citizens filed the lawsuit asking that the contract be declared null and void, saying it was illegally signed.

Allen Diercks and Patricia Lane say they asked three different times under the Freedom of Information Act for all public documents pertaining to the Deloitte and Touche report, and didn't receive them all.

Defense attorney Rand Wonio said there may have been a slight oversight with a couple of documents, but says much of the information wasn't the city's to give, but was in the hands of Deloitte.

"Inadvertent, not turning it over and throwing away a bunch of emails is not a refusal to turning these documents over," he said in closing arguments.

"Iowa law is very clear, they set him off to do due dilligence. I think it's squeaky clean on the law," Wonio said after court.

The plaintiff's attorney, Mike Meloy, says he is hoping the judge rules in his client's favor, to send a message.

"I believe the message is that government works for the taxpayers of the City of Davenport and taxpayers have the right to see public records, to see how government is spending their money," Meloy said.

The judge says he is taking the matter under advisement and will issue a ruling later.