Mall of America sued Bloomington over data release
Mall of America officials fought — and won — to keep Bloomington from releasing data the city has on the shopping center's parking ramp counts.
Why it matters: The public records fight is a window into the close but complicated relationship between the suburb and its economic engine.
- Entities tied to MOA ownership sued the city last month while, at the same time, asking for $55 million in public subsidies for a proposed water park next to the mall.
The latest: Mall of America said it waived the lawsuit after city officials reversed their decision last week and withheld the data after all.
Catch up fast: Axios Twin Cities requested data on vehicle traffic counts at MOA ramps before and during the pandemic for a story back in December.
- The city had ruled the data public, but three entities tied to MOA filed for a temporary restraining order in Hennepin County District Court, arguing the data is a trade secret.
The intrigue: Mall officials disclosed in the lawsuit that they spent millions of dollars on a sophisticated wayfinding system that uses cameras and sensors to track, monitor and count traffic.
- It shares this data with the city of Bloomington for traffic management purposes, according to the complaint.
- The complaint also showed that the mall and city have signed confidentiality agreements as they hammer out big economic development deals.
What they're saying: City Clerk Christina Scipioni said the mall was able to demonstrate that the data met the elements of trade secret classification.
Mall spokesperson Dan Jasper said the data is confidential and that an "injunction was needed to protect our proprietary information."
What's ahead: The mall and city continue to move forward on the water park project and were close to a significant step this week, according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
- "The city has been longtime development partners with Mall of America and continues to appreciate a positive working relationship with them," Scipioni wrote in an email to Axios.
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