Uber attorney: PTC must protect documents over concern agency chief is resigning

An attorney representing rideshare company Uber is crying foul over the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission’s handling of a public records request.

Andrea Flynn Mogensen, whose Sarasota firm is representing Uber in its battle with the PTC, expressed concern that the agency had not responded to a request for documents including text messages and emails between PTC members David PogorilichAl HigginbothamFrank Reddick, lobbyists and representatives of the taxi and limousine industries.

The letter sent to county attorneys Cindy Oster and Stephen Todd urges them to “immediately safeguard” documents. Mogensen alleges PTC executive director Kyle Cockream has private emails and text messages stored on personal computers and cell phones that he is not releasing.

“We urge you to take all appropriate steps to immediately safeguard these documents from any tampering, deletion, or destruction – including documents housed on private servers, devices and accounts,” she wrote.

Mogensen also accused PTC staff members of “retroactively” amending official records “in response to inquiries from reporters.” She also alleged Cockream “appears to be in the process of resigning from the PTC.”

The PTC declined to comment on the Uber letter or the most recent in a string of troubles for the agency. A spokesperson said the agency was in the process of drafting an official response to Uber’s attorney and that precluded them from commenting at this time.

The board is set to meet again next week at which time they’ll likely decide on a firm to begin an investigation. The board is also expected to vote on a set of rules aimed at regulating Uber, which the company opposes. It may also vote on a temporary operating agreement Uber officials brokered with outgoing PTC chair Victor Crist.

The Uber attorney’s letter follows weeks of news stemming from emails released through public records requests showing a series of interactions between Cockream and leaders of the local taxi industry, including colluding on sting operations where Uber and Lyft drivers were ticketed $700 each.

The news prompted State Representative Dana Young to request a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation into potential impropriety. The PTC board also voted to hire an outside firm to investigate allegations of inappropriate relationships.

View the original article here Tampa Bay Business Journal