COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A lawsuit has been filed by Meade Construction against the Columbus Zoo after the Zoo’s refusal to follow a public records request, according to Ohio Supreme Court documents.
Andrew Meade, of Meade Construction, made an written public records request using an anonymous email account on March 15 to ask for a copy of the new CEO’s contract, court documents said, and the Zoo denied the request.
“Multiple scandals involving mismanagement and lack of oversight have plagued the Columbus Zoo recently,” Meade Construction spokesman Ryan Stubenrauch said. “Despite its new CEO claiming the Zoo welcomes public scrutiny, it clings to secrecy while blaming others for its problems.”
The Ohio Supreme Court has previously ruled that nonprofit entities receiving taxpayer funds and performing a government function are required to follow public records law.
Meade Construction worked with the Columbus Zoo on several projects in recent years.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s appeal to have its accreditation reinstated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) was denied last December.
The Columbus Zoo provided a statement in response to the pending lawsuit. It reads:
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has gone well beyond what is required by law in order toColumbus Zoo and Aquarium
exhibit transparency to the public and to the press throughout this process. The Zoo conducted
an investigation and released all of its findings to the public. This issue is being raised by a
company that was handed a $2 million unbid contract by the former CEO of the Columbus Zoo
and Aquarium. This company is using this tactic in order to distract from the fact that the
Columbus Zoo believes the company overcharged the Zoo for services under this contract
and that the Zoo is seeking to recover funds on behalf of our members, our guests and our
community. We respectfully ask this company to operate with integrity and see to it that
resources are appropriately restored to the Columbus Zoo.