Boyer’s financial books: stay away, prying eyes
November 20, 2009
The Park City Council on Thursday night agreed to a clause that ensures financial information about The Boyer Company, City Hall’s partner on a Quinn’s Junction development, will be kept secret.
In a unanimous vote, the City Council approved the second part of a landmark deal with The Boyer Company that calls for the two sides to jointly pursue a development on the southwest corner of the U.S. 40-S.R. 248 interchange.
The Boyer Company is a privately held firm, and it is not required to release financial information publicly traded companies must. The Boyer Company earlier in November indicated it would provide financial information to City Hall, but it was not clear how it would do so.
The clause approved on Thursday requires City Hall to keep the information secret. According to the agreement, The Boyer Company must provide the information to City Hall before March 1, 2010. It indicates that information needed to enable City Hall to conduct a "reasonable" review of the numbers must be handed over.
But the clause also tightly restricts City Hall’s ability to show the information or discuss what The Boyer Company provides. Park City officials agreed that the information is "confidential and proprietary" and will be "kept confidential."
The Boyer Company only agreed to provide the information in a way that ensures it cannot be released publicly through state open-records laws. The open-records laws generally allow a government to withhold from the public legal documents and paperwork about property acquisitions and personnel.
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Two members of the City Council — Roger Harlan and Jim Hier — said afterward that they had not received the information prior to casting the Thursday vote, meaning that Park City entered into the agreement without combing through The Boyer Company’s financial situation.
The Boyer Company official leading the negotiations with City Hall, Patrick Moffat, has said previously his firm would provide enough information for Park City officials to be comfortable with the partnership. He has said The Boyer Company is "well capitalized." Moffat declined to comment after the Thursday vote.
The City Hall-Boyer Company partnership is an unusual arrangement for Park City that puts the municipal government alongside a private-sector developer on a large, entryway project. Park City essentially paid $5.5 million to purchase a 50 percent stake in 200 acres of land. The two sides plan to jointly develop some of the property, likely with a large bloc of work force housing and market-priced units. The Boyer Company, though, holds the option of forcing City Hall to later purchase the firm’s stake in the project for another $5.5 million plus interest.
While there is some support among regular Parkites, the deal has drawn scattered concerns that City Hall has entered into a partnership with a developer amid a shaky economy.
Park City Attorney Mark Harrington on Thursday night said the deal should not be construed as a City Hall "buyout" or "bailout" of The Boyer Company. The City Hall side contends that the partnership enables the local government to guide the development of a major entryway project.