Taylor and Froedge clash on “transparency” and “attorney-client privilege”
GLASGOW, Ky. – Tuesday night’s Glasgow Electric Plant Board meeting was another agenda that just didn’t go as planned.
Board chairman John “Tag” Taylor was upset that board member DT Froedge shared an attorney communication in response to an open record request.
Froedge said he received an open records request via email from the newspaper (Barren County Progress) and fulfilled it as requested by giving all board communication documents he had in his possession to them. He added, “We should have nothing to hide.” The same process Froedge and others have done before.
The litigation researched was against Jobe Publishing, Inc. and Jeff Jobe for news coverage of the GEPB. The newspaper broke this story and shared the document in print and online prior to the Tuesday meeting. Taylor had plans to go into closed session and keep the findings secret from the community. Findings from a third party attorney that detailed how the newspaper had done little if anything that would place them in jeopardy of a successful lawsuit from the board as a whole or individually.
In response to Taylor, Froedge said, “I packaged up the entire email from last meeting and sent it off”. He explained that he believes the attorney was his attorney saying, “I have the right to decide whether or not I keep it confidential.” Taylor’s position is that Froedge is not the client and was breaking the law when he shared the document because of “attorney-client privilege”.
A legal definition for attorney-client privilege refers to a legal privilege that works to keep confidential communications between an attorney and his or her client secret. The privilege is asserted in the face of a legal demand for communications, such as a discovery request or a demand that the lawyer testifies under oath.
It is Taylor’s position that Froedge is guilty of malfeasance because he shared this information.
The legal term for malfeasance is defined as intentional conduct that is wrongful or unlawful, especially by officials or public employees.
In a 15-minute conversation with the Kentucky Press Association Attorney John Fleishaker the Progress found that according to Fleishaker, “it doesn’t matter if Mr. Froedge is a client or not”. He explained that this law is in place for attorneys, not their clients. So, if Froedge is a client then he can share the findings with anyone he wishes. Fleishaker then said, “if Chairman Taylor is correct and Mr. Froedge is not a client then Mr. Froedge can share the findings with anyone he wishes as well.” Fleishaker was genuinely concerned that someone would make such a claim without first getting legal advice but it falls in line with the same accusations he made in open meetings against Jobe Publishing. The press attorney was impressed with Froedge admitting to having been one of the sources for sharing the document saying, “this in itself makes a bold statement in regards to his desire for transparency.”