FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Frank M. Fedeli and the Greenwich Time Advocate,
against Docket #FIC 86-97
Chief of Police and Corporation Counsel of the City of Stamford,
Respondents August 27, 1986
The above captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 29, 1986, at which time the complainants and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.
After consideration of the entire record the following facts are found:
1. The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
2. On or about March 17, 1986 the complainant Fedeli made a request of the respondent chief for copies of the Special Investigation Unit's report regarding the investigation of one James Sotire, the Chief Building Inspector for the city of Stamford.
3. By letter dated March 21, 1986 the respondent chief stated that on the advice of the respondent counsel, the requested report was not subject to disclosure because there is an ongoing investigation of this matter.
4. From the denial of access to the requested report, the complainants appealed to the Commission by complaint filed on April 9, 1986.
5. The respondents claim that the disclosure of the requested file is exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(3)(A)-(C), G.S., in that it would lead potential informants to decline to provide the police department with relevant information for fear of reprisals. The respondents further state that disclosure would also have the effect of disclosing the investigative technique being employed by the Special Investigation Unit, which is not known to the general public.
Docket #FIC 86-97 Page 2
6. The respondents further claim that work is being done on the file as time permits and as information develops, and that the last entry made in the file was April 30, 1986.
7. It is found that the investigation in question began in 1984, when Mr. Sotire was accused of pressuring the general manager of the Holiday Inn Crown Plaza Hotel to employ a specific refuse hauling firm.
8. It is found that although Mr. Sotire has not been formally charged with a crime, there is an ongoing investigation pending with respect to the allegations made against him.
9. At the hearing before the Commission, the respondent chief conceded that the requested files "face sheet" setting forth the name of the person filing the complaint and the date of its filing, is subject to disclosure and agreed to provide the complainant with a copy of this document.
10. It is therefore concluded that the respondents violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to disclose a copy of the face sheet promptly.
11. In view of the entire record before it, the Commission is not persuaded that all of the information contained in the file in question is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(3)(A)-(C), G.S.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above captioned complaint:
1. The respondent chief shall forthwith provide the complainant with a copy of all of the records contained in the file identified more specifically in paragraph 2 of the findings of fact, above.
2. In complying with paragraph 1 of this order, the respondents may delete or otherwise mask information which is exempt pursuant to 1-19(b)(3)(A)-(C), G.S.
3. If any portion of the requested file is deleted or otherwise masked in accordance with paragraph 2 of this order, the respondent chief shall provide the complainant, in affidavit form, with the specific statutory exemption relied on and the factual justification for each portion of the report that is not disclosed.
Docket #FIC86-97 Page 3
Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of August 27, 1986.
Karen J. Haggett
Clerk of the Commission