For months, the City of Boise wouldn’t confirm or deny to BoiseDev that it was holding discussions with Micron Technology about an expansion of its Boise campus. At one point, former City of Boise spokesperson Justin Corr did say the city had sent Boise Mayor Lauren McLean on a “business attraction mission,” but said a non-disclosure agreement prevented the city from talking about it.
It turns out, the City of Boise is bound to an NDA it signed with the technology giant in 2004.
Micron announced last week that it would build a $15-billion new fabrication plant in Boise. The company would again make computer chips in the US, incentivized by the federal government and State of Idaho.
BoiseDev reported the company was also engaging with city officials, including the mayor, as early as last fall.
BoiseDev obtained the document in a public records request this week. It outlines that the city can take information from Micron but not disclose it to the public. The agreement went into effect in May of 2004. Former Boise Mayor Dave Bieter signed it, as well as the city’s directors of planning and development and fire, as well as the city attorney at the time. Jay Hawkins, then the VP of Operations for Micron signed it for the company.
BoiseDev reached out to Bieter to understand why the city signed a non-disclosure agreement with Micron that didn’t expire. We provided the former mayor a copy of the public record.
“The City of Boise signed an agreement in 2004 with Micron Technology relating solely to inspections of buildings and facilities,” Bieter said. “It was signed by the fire chief at the time, Renn Ross, the planning director, and me. It only ensures that any information learned during inspections is not given to any other parties. It does not relate to economic development, investments in facilities, or any other issues, as is made plain in the language of the agreement. “
The NDA outlines an array of information the company could share with the city that would be protected, including “marketing or business plans.”
City of Boise spokesperson Maria Weeg said she checked with the current city attorney and economic director on the use of the 2004 NDA to negotiate on Micron’s current expansion.
“We can’t speak to the intention of the NDA, none of us were around in 2004,” Weeg said. “For the last three and a half years, we have been following the express terms of the NDA. It gives Micron the say on what we can and cannot release.”
Weeg noted city attorney Jayme Sullivan started under Bieter 3.5 years ago. McLean was sworn into office just about 2.5 years ago. She said the city’s legal interpretation of the document said it had to ask Micron for permission on what it could and could not release related to the economic development. A Micron official told BoiseDev in August that the process of selecting a site for the new facility “runs best when we are careful about confidentially.”
Correction: Weeg said the city has been following the terms of the NDA for the last three and a half years, but a miscommunication led us to adjust this to two and a half years, which has been updated.