A Birmingham Water Works Board (BWWB) member filed a lawsuit against the large utility after he requested legal expense invoices from as far back as October 2015 and was denied.

According to reports, the lawsuit, filed by BWWB member George Munchus, alleges that Water Works general manager Michael Johnson told Munchus that he couldn't provide copies of the documents because of a policy from 2022 and that he must come to view the records in person.

Munchus filed his complaint when the utility subsequently denied his open records request. This, the lawsuit suggests, violates Alabama's open records law.

Munchus' attorney argued that Johnson has a fiduciary duty as a public utility to provide this information and that the policy preventing BWWB members from receiving public invoices should be overturned.

This is the latest of several controversies surrounding the utility over the last several years, culminating in 2022 when a slew of billing problems caused thousands of customers not to receive bills for months at a time, only to receive much larger or multiple bills all at once later.

The bills were also not based on accurate meter readings but estimations based on previous months. Birmingham Water Works blamed the issues on insufficient meter readers and inadequate staffing.

As of Monday night, the utility has not responded to the complaint. 

1819 News contacted the Water Works for an official comment on the lawsuit, but a spokesman said they could not comment on pending litigation.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email [email protected] or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.