Landfill operator blacks out records about free dumping

From The Columbus Dispatch The operators of the public Franklin County Landfill say that numerous emails officials sent concerning thousands of tons of material a company dumped for free — and even discussions of newspaper stories and editorials revealing the dumping — may be blacked out under the state’s Public Records Act.

The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio redacted the text of dozens of emails from a Dispatch public records request. They are protected by attorney-client privilege, said Rebecca Egelhoff, SWACO’s general counsel.

The redacted emails were circulated among several office middle managers, including the public-relations manager, and included or copied Egelhoff. They have subject fields such as: “response to Dispatch editorial,” “weekend Dispatch story” and “yard waste.” Egelhoff said the emails were “to secure legal advice.”

They were sent around the time of a Dispatch article in May that broke news that yard-waste and mulch company Kurtz Brothers had dumped almost 800 truckloads of waste for free in late 2016 and early 2017.

At least one of the emails was also shared with city and county officials who sit on the SWACO board of directors.

SWACO sent over 1,600 pages of documents in response to The Dispatch’s request, but they were largely the same documents repeated dozens of times.

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