FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Lyn Bixby and The Hartford Courant,

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 87-252

 

Connecticut Department of Public Works and Director of Leasing, Connecticut Department of Public Works

 

Respondents January 13, 1988

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 5, 1987, 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. By letter dated July 7, 1987, the complainants requested copies of all lease proposals submitted in response to solicitation numbers LP-87-4a, LP-87-4b, and LP-87-4c.

 

3. By letter dated July 10, 1987, the respondent director stated the complainants' request had been referred to the Office of Attorney General.

 

4. On August 26, 1987, an assistant attorney general, by telephone, stated the lease proposals were not disclosable because they contained pricing information that is exempt from disclosure under 53a-161b, G.S.

 

5. By letter of complaint dated September 2, 1987 and filed with the Commission on September 9, 1987, the complainants alleged the respondents violated the Freedom of Information Act in their refusal to provide them with copies of the lease proposals.

 

Docket #FIC 87-252 Page 2

 

6. The respondents claim the lease proposals are exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(5) and (7), 4-26b, 4-26e and 4-26i, and 53a-161b, G.S. They also claim the complaint was not filed in a timely fashion.

 

7. It is found the letter of complaint was filed within 30 days from the date of the denial of the request within the meaninf of 1-21i(b), G.S.

 

8. It is found the respondents sought to obtain office space for the Department of Revenue Services under solicitation number LP-87-4a, for the Department of Environmental Protection under solicitation number LP-87-4b, and for the Office of the Comptroller under solicitation number LP-87-4c.

 

9. It also is found property owners submitted lease proposals in response to the solicitation numbers identified in paragraph 7, above.

 

10. It further is found the respondents have reviewed the lease proposals and have disclosed to the complainants the names of the property owners submitting the proposals, the property owners' principal contacts and the location of the properties.

 

11. It further is found the current status of the lease proposals is as follows:

 

a. The closing date for the lease proposals under solicitation number LP-87-4a was September 29, 1987.

 

b. The State Property Review Board is reviewing the lease proposal selected under solicitation number LP-87-4b.

 

c. The respondents are negotiating a lease to obtain office space under solicitation number LP-87-4c.

 

12. It is found the respondents failed to prove that the requested records are exempt from disclosure under 1-19(b)(5), G.S.

 

13. It further is found the lease proposals do not constitute real estate appraisals within the meaning of 1-19(b)(7), G.S., and therefore they are not exempt from public disclosure under that statutory provision.

 

14. 4-26i, G.S., prohibits a person affiliated with any requesting agency from discussing its real estate needs or interests outside of that agency without prior formal authorization by the commissioner of public works.

 

Docket #FIC 87-252 Page 3

 

15. 4-26i, G.S., also prohibits anyone obtaining knowledge of an agency's real estate needs as a result of his employment by the state from disclosing any information regarding the state's real estate needs to anyone except as authorized by the commissioner of public works.

 

16. It is found the respondents are not persons affiliated with a requesting agency within the meaning of 4-26i, G.S., and therefore the lease proposals are not exempt from public disclosure under the first part of that statutory provision.

 

17. It also is found the respondents placed an advertisement, pursuant to 4-127c, G.S., in one or more newspapers expressing their interest in obtaining leases for the Department of Revenue Services, Department of Environmental Protection and Office of the Comptroller.

 

18. Since the respondents already have disclosed the state's real estate needs to the public, it is concluded the lease proposals are not exempt from public disclosure under the second part of 4-26i, G.S.

 

19. 53a-161b, G.S., prohibits bidders and offerors from disclosing pricing information contained in their proposals to any other bidder, offeror or competitor, prior to the award of a contract by a commission, agency or department of the state.

 

20. It is found the requested records are not exempt from disclosure under 4-26b and 4-26e, G.S.

 

21. It is found the respondents are not bidders or offerors within the meaning of 53a-161b, G.S., and therefore, it is concluded the lease proposals are not exempt from disclosure under that statutory provision.

 

22. It further is concluded the lease proposals are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S., and are 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 respondents shall forthwith provide the complainants with copies of the lease proposals, described in paragraph 2 of the findings, above.

 

Docket #FIC 87-252 Page 4

 

2. Henceforth, the respondents shall act in strict compliance with the requirements of 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 13, 1988.

 

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission