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Johnson Utilities Ordered To Disclose Confidential Documents

The town of Queen Creek and a utility company, Johnson Utilities, are being ordered to disclose documents about a possible business transaction.

The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday Arizona’s public record laws supersede nondisclosure agreements in this case.

When Johnson Utilities LLC provided documents to Queen Creek in 2017, the two signed a mutual non-disclosure agreement. But the court said the documents are public records related to government activities, not confidential business matters.

Arizona Corporation Commissioner Andy Tobin sought information after scandals about widespread water outages, dozens of sewage spills and employee safety issues at Johnson Utilities came to light. Queen Creek planned to release the documents, said a spokeswoman for the town, but Johnson utilities sued, saying certain documents were classified.

The documents apparently include information about a possible transaction that wasn't completed and a report identifying where the utility's infrastructure does not meet town standards.

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EDITORS NOTE: This story has been updated to include information from the town of Queen Creek's spokeswoman. 

Claire Caulfield was a reporter and Morning Edition producer from 2015 to 2019.