In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION


Dan Greenlaw and America's Homebuying Consultants Inc.,




against Docket #FIC 87-34


Chief Assessor of the Town of Hamden,


Respondent April 22, 1987


The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 17, 1987, at which time the complainants appeared and presented testimony 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 of complaint dated February 9, 1987, and filed with the Commission on February 13, 1987, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging a denial of their request for a public record.


3. It is found that on the morning of February 9, 1987, complainant Greenlaw requested to see the field card on a new house in Hamden at the local assessor's office. He was told the card was not in the file.


4. It is found that complainant Greenlaw left a written request at that time for a copy of the card, whenever it was found.


5. It is found that on the afternoon of February 9, 1987, complainant Greenlaw received a telephone call from an employee of the assessor's office, saying the card was found but would not be released until after February 28, 1987.


6. It is found that during the same telephone call the respondent explained to complainant Greenlaw that the card would not be disclosed until the town's Grand List was released.


7. It is found that field cards typically contain property information such as lot dimensions, structure dimensions, structure age and style, floor plans, where the last owner's deed is recorded, and the most recent assessment.


Docket No. FIC 87-34 Page Two


8. It is found, therefore, that the requested field card is a public record subject to prompt disclosure under 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.


9. Thus it is concluded that the respondent violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., by denying the complainants a prompt copy of the field card.


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 complainants with a copy of the requested field card, described more fully in paragraphs 3 and 8 of the findings, above.


2. The respondent shall henceforth act in strict compliance with 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.


Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 22, 1987.


Catherine I. Hostetter

Acting Clerk of the Commission