TCLG files lawsuit for public records from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

September 17, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Shannon Reed, 602-626-8805

TEMPE, Ariz. (Sept. 17, 2015) – Tempe-based Torres Consulting & Law Group is asking an Arizona federal court judge to force the office of Veterans Affairs to release public records regarding two construction project contracts. In 2014, TCLG submitted a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request to the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) on the North Las Vegas Solar Photovoltaic System (Design/Build) in Nevada including release of information about estimated start date, project timeline, labor clauses including Davis-Bacon Related Acts requirement and subcontractors list. Staff at TCLG made an administrative appeal before filing the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Phoenix in early July. “It’s important that workers are paid what they should be paid. So it is crucial to be able to have access to these public records that can help determine that,” said attorney Jim Barton. TCLG also submitted several FOIA requests for certified payroll records, fringe benefit statements and evidence of apprenticeship programs on the Veterans Affairs Loma Linda Healthcare – Ambulatory Care Center in Loma Linda, Calif. More than 100 calendar days have passed and TCLG has not received documents from the Veterans Affairs Department (VA). Additionally, there are many other cases in which TCLG’s FOIA requests went unanswered for more than 100 days and in some cases for more than 300 days. While the VA provided some documents, in some instances it was past the project completion date and too late for TCLG to be able to audit the information. The Davis-Bacon Act requires contractors on public works projects, such as the North Las Vegas Solar Photovoltaic System, to pay laborers and mechanics a prevailing wage set by the U.S. Department of Labor. TCLG asks that the Court order the VA to provide all FOIA information requested and adopt and implement policies and procedures to fix the pattern of not providing documents in a timely manner. TCLG provides a variety of consulting services, including regulatory compliance and public and government relations, to clients across the United States.