Kudos To Some, But Not All Los Alamos County Councilors


Kudos to Los Alamos County Councilors Sean Williams, James Robinson, David Reagor and Council Chair Randy Ryti for voting on February 23, 2021 to waive attorney-client privilege on a December 14, 2020 memorandum-of-opinion by County Attorney Alvin Leaphart regarding the proposed purchase of the CB Fox building. As a result of this 4-3 vote, this memorandum, which pointed out some very serious legal issues with the proposed purchase of the CB Fox building, was finally made public to the citizens of Los Alamos County (LAC).

It seems like tax-paying citizens of Los Alamos County are already “clients” of the County Attorney and should have access to such important information and waiving attorney-client privilege shouldn’t even be necessary. It is obvious why the proponents on the County Council of this ill-advised purchase would like to keep this information from the general public, at least until after the purchase is complete.

It is befuddling that some of the same councilors who preach openness and transparency also voted to keep this memo from the citizens of Los Alamos. I suggest that everyone go onto the Los Alamos County website and watch the proceeding of the February 23 meeting. Some of the lame excuses for not making the memo available to the public are almost laughable. The County is currently doing an on-line survey of whether or not the citizens of LAC support the purchase of CB Fox and Reel Deal. Legal issues involved with this purchase are something people have every right to know about before responding to that survey.

This memo makes a really bad deal even worse! Purchasing the CB Fox building looks like a black hole for money. First there is the purchase price. Then, since the building is in such poor condition, there will be the cost of demolition. There will be costs associated with resolving the legal issues related to parking as discussed in the recently-released memo. So, after all of these costs, what LAC would then have is a piece of land. So, LAC would then have to spend money to build something on the land, and it will more than likely sit vacant. 

As for the Reel Deal, while some people have bemoaned the loss of a movie theater, this is a nationwide phenomenon. And does LAC really think it can succeed in a business when a private owner can’t? What are other examples where this has happened? 

Thank you Councilor Williams for introducing the motion to waive attorney-client privilege on this issue, and to the other three councilors who supported the motion! Just because some out-of-town investor made a bad investment doesn’t mean that LAC should bail him out. 

R. Wayne Hardie
Los Alamos