CLEVELAND — After 5 On Your Side Investigators spent more than a year fighting for transparency, city officials have been forced to release an unredacted copy of its nearly $4 billion failed bid to bring Amazon’s second headquarters to Cleveland following a ruling in favor of News 5 Cleveland by the Ohio Court of Claims.
News 5 fought for the information because the stakes were high for Northeast Ohio. In the proposal entitled “Authenticity,” government officials offered Amazon a $3.5 Billion incentive package to choose Cleveland for its HQ2 project.
A swath of land in the heart of town, public square to the warehouse district, was the proposed location. The city also proposed the construction of a “fail-proof” electric microgrid which would provide 99.9 percent reliability from power outages for the Amazon site.
Despite the lucrative offer, Cleveland did not make Amazon’s top 20 cities. Neighboring Columbus and Pittsburgh made the first round of cuts, Cleveland did not.
The project was eventually awarded to sites in Virginia and New York, but backlash over the tax incentives has led Amazon to pull out of the New York project.
You can read the unredacted report here.
In January 2018, News 5 Investigators filed a public record request to have the documents regarding the bid released.
A month later, Investigator Sarah Buduson filed a complaint in the Ohio Court of Claims on behalf of News 5 for the city to be transparent about the proposal it offered to Amazon.
In summer 2018, when the city finally released information regarding the Amazon bid, the report was so absurdly redacted that entire pages of text and photos were blacked out completely.
Following the state court ruling, the City released the following statement:
“Pursuant to the order of the Ohio Court of Claims, the City of Cleveland is releasing the Amazon bid as instructed in Sarah Buduson-vs-City of Cleveland, Case No. 2018-00300PQ. While we do not agree with the ruling, we will comply.”
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Article Courtesy of WEWS News 5 Cleveland
First and Second Picture Courtesy of Euan Cherry and WENN