The Tarrant County district attorney's office must make public some records related to a former employee's claims that she was sexually harassed and retaliated against for complaining -- claims that officials say were not confirmed. But it's far from certain that the newly disclosed information will help taxpayers understand why the case has cost some $475,000 in settlement costs and legal fees.County officials have been sorting through Tuesday's ruling from the Texas attorney general that some documents must be released and others must by law be withheld, primarily because of the personal details they contain. The 13-page ruling referred repeatedly to records the AG's staff had marked, but the district attorney's office was still awaiting those documents Thursday, a spokeswoman said.The attorney general's decision came after the Star-Telegram and others sought the records. Tarrant County commissioners in September approved a no-fault settlement with the woman, Sabrina J. Sabin, for $300,000 plus $75,000 for her lawyer, Susan Hutchison. The county and the DA's office sought an attorney general's opinion on what information could be withheld under the Texas Public Information Act and which parts had to be kept secret under state and federal laws.Separate records released by the county show that $43,651 was paid to WhitneySmith Co., a Fort Worth human resources firm, and that the Jackson Walker law firm billed the county for $49,500 for work from June through September investigating Sabin's allegations and advising officials on the settlement. The Kelly Hart law firm handled the county's request to the attorney general.Requiring public officials to disclose information helps taxpayers determine whether those they've elected are properly doing their jobs.While many details about this case have been made available, they aren't enough to assess whether the DA's office and commissioners have acted in county residents' best interests. Officials have said the settlement would avoid the greater costs of litigation. Maybe so. But it's understandable if taxpayers wonder whether they've paid to dispose of the case properly or to hide it.According to records already made public, Sabin, who joined the DA's office in 2005, complained in the spring that she had been sexually harassed by District Attorney Joe Shannon. She said she then was retaliated against and heard office gossip suggesting that she was behaving abnormally or had health issues. After Shannon asked the county to investigate, Sabin, 44, filed complaints with the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.The settlement agreement says the county attempted to accommodate Sabin's requests to change her work schedule and job assignments and to take time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Mediation in early September led to the settlement approved Sept. 25.The DA's office cited various reasons for not disclosing documents, including that some materials are covered by attorney-client privilege; some include highly personal information about Shannon, Sabin and others; some would identify confidential witnesses; and some were created in anticipation of litigation.The ruling said that "if there is an adequate summary of an investigation of alleged sexual harassment, the investigation summary must be released along with the statement of the accused." If a summary isn't available, "all of the information relating to the investigation ordinarily must be released."The AG also said some records can be withheld because of privacy considerations and attorney-client privilege, and some could remain secret if the county can't separate them from confidential email strings.It's important to note that even when records can be withheld under the Public Information Act, an entity still can disclose them if no law requires them to be confidential.Highly charged allegations against public officials create a thorny dilemma. If they are true but not properly aired, the public isn't well-served. If they are false, airing them can damage reputations without the public interest being served.The expenditures in this instance were significant enough that public trust requires significantly more disclosure of the facts.