High Court: Firm subcontracts not public under law

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court says a private business working on a construction project for the St. Louis County School District does not have to provide subcontractor data under open records laws.

The decision reverses an earlier ruling by the state Court of Appeals.

The case goes back to 2010, when the school district contracted with Johnson Controls, Inc., for school construction and renovation projects. Johnson Controls subcontracted with Architectural Resources, Inc., to help with design.

Ely-based Timberjay Newspapers argued the subcontract between the two companies should be public because they were performing a “governmental function.”

The Supreme Court disagreed, saying a subcontract between two private businesses is not subject to open records laws.

Justice Alan Page says he agrees with this case’s outcome, but disagrees with the majority’s blanket conclusion.

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