Pittsburgh Can't Hide Amazon HQ2 Offer From the Public

City and county officials have already appealed a decision that would require them to release the details of a proposal designed to entice Amazon into locating its second headquarters in Pittsburgh.

In a four-page ruling Wednesday, Common Pleas Senior Judge W. Terrence O’Brien said he found no basis for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County to keep the 300-page proposal secret.

“This case is not about whether Amazon’s locating its second headquarters in this region would provide an economic boost. Nor is it relevant, as argued by the [city and county], that public disclosure of the records at issue would ‘sabotage [this region’s] opportunity to compete with’ other regions of the United States for the headquarters,” he wrote.

In conclusion, Judge O’Brien said that the city and county had “failed to meet their burden of establishing, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the proposal is exempt under the Right-To-Know Law.”


The two government also maintained the proposal was exempt from release because it contained confidential proprietary information and trade secrets offered by PGHQ2, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development arm set up to submit the region’s bid.

In his ruling, Judge O’Brien soundly rejected that argument.

He said that PGHQ2 has no employees; that the chiefs of staff of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and county Executive Rich Fitzgerald were members of the board of managers of PGHQ2 while the proposal was being created and attended board meetings during working hours; and that PGHQ2 sells nothing.