FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Allen M. Baver,

 

Complainant,

 

against Docket #FIC 86-345

 

Director, Collection and Enforcement Division, Connecticut Department of Revenue Services,

 

Respondent April 8, 1987

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on January 22, 1987, at which time the complainant and the respondent 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 respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letter dated December 6, 1986, the complainant requested access to inspect or copy an investigation report issued by the special investigation section of the Department of Revenue Services, including the investigator's notes, concerning the 1984 Windsor Beerfest.

 

3. By letter dated December 18, 1986, the respondent denied the request.

 

4. By letter dated December 18, 1986 and filed with the Commission on December 22, 1986, the complainant alleged that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act in his refusal to release the investigation report.

 

5. It is found that the respondent refused to disclose to the complainant an anonymous letter requesting an investigation of the 1984 Windsor Beerfest and the investigation report.

 

6. At the hearing on this matter, the respondent provided the complainant with a copy of the anonymous letter.

 

Docket #FIC 86-345 Page 2

 

7. The respondent claims that the investigation report is exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(3), 1-19(b)(5), 12-15(a), and 1-19(b)(10), G.S.

 

8. It is found that pursuant to 29-18b, G.S., the special investigation section of the Department of Revenue Services is a law enforcement agency for purposes of 1-19(b)(3), G.S.

 

9. It is concluded that although the investigation report is a record of a law enforcement agency, the report is not exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(3), G.S., because it does not fall within any of the applicable provisions under that statutory exemption.

 

10. It also is concluded that the investigation report is not exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(5), G.S., because the respondent failed to prove that the report contained financial information given in confidence, not required by statute.

 

11. It is found that casual and isolated sales are exempt from taxation under 12-426-17(a) of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies and therefore no tax return is required for such sales.

 

12. It also is found that the sales at the 1984 Windsor Beerfest were casual and isolated sales within the meaning of 12-426-17(a) of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies.

 

13. Based upon the evidence presented, the respondent failed to prove that the information contained in the investigation report was set forth in a tax return, exempt from disclosure under 12-15(a), G.S.

 

14. It further is found that the respondent failed to prove that the information contained in the investigation report was set forth in a statement or report, exempt from disclosure under 12-15(a), G.S.

 

15. It therefore is concluded that the investigation report is not exempt from disclosure under 12-15(a) or 1-19(b)(10), G.S.

 

16. Furthermore, it is found that the investigation report consists of interviews with individuals associated with the 1984 Windsor Beerfest organization, interviews with Windsor public officials, and a recommendation for agency action.

 

17. The respondent claims that the disclosure of the investigation report would constitute an invasion of personal privacy and therefore is exempt under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

Docket #FIC 86-345 Page 3

 

18. It is concluded that the investigation report is not exempt from disclosure under a general privacy exemption since there is no such statutory exemption under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

19. Furthermore, it is found that the investigation report is a record relating to the conduct of the public's business within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S., and for which there is a legitimate public interest in disclosure.

 

20. It therefore is concluded that the investigation report is a public record under 1-18a(d), G.S., subject to disclosure under 1-19(a), 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 shall forthwith provide the complainant with a copy of the investigation report issued by the special investigation section of the Department of Revenue Services concerning the 1984 Windsor Beerfest.

 

2. In complying with paragraph 1 of the order, above, the respondent may mask or otherwise delete any information contained in the investigation report that is exempt from disclosure under the explicit language of 12-15(a) or 1-19(b)(10), G.S., as construed by this decision.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 8, 1987.

 

Catherine I. Hostetter

Acting Clerk of the Commission