The state employee who mistakenly included me on an email this week in which she advised a spokeswoman to "refrain from discussing [the delayed Grand Prix contract] with the Sun," has responded to my request for clarification.
Assistant Attorney General Cynthia Hahn, who represents the Maryland Stadium Authority, wrote in an email that she was not asking the spokeswoman to "conceal" information, but wished to prevent her from speaking to me until "complete and accurate information" could be obtained.
In the email sent to a Stadium Authority spokeswoman, Hahn wrote that the contract between Downforce Racing LLC and the authority had not been finalized because the private company had not turned in a signed copy. The delay in finalizing the contract, which the city had required by March 15, could "present some PR problems" for the company, Hahn wrote.
Hahn explained in her follow-up email that she did not want to share "information that, at the time, remained incomplete for reasons beyond our control."
However, the question remains: Why didn't Hahn advise the spokeswoman to inform us of the complex and nuanced situation, rather than instructing her to "give the Sun no information"?
The complete text of her email follows:
From: Hahn, Cynthia [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 05, 2012 1:37 PM
To: Scharper, Julie
Subject: Agreement between Stadium Authority and Downforce Racing
Dear Ms. Scharper,
Here is the clarification that you requested regarding the contract between my client, the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA), and Downforce Racing LLC (DFR). I had advised MSA to refrain from making a statement to you because I am out of the country with only intermittent and limited access to e-mail, the status of the contract is somewhat complicated, and it is not in a client's best interest to relay information to the press that is not complete or accurate.
Nevertheless, the story characterized an e-mail of mine as advice to "conceal" some information, rather than a desire to release complete and accurate information.
So, please note the following: