FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Vincent Forino,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 88-180

 

City Clerk, City of Waterbury and City of Waterbury,

 

Respondents November 9, 1988

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 22, 1988, at which time the complainant 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 January 23, 1986, the complainant filed a request application with the respondent clerk for the purchase of property located behind 2984 East Main Street.

 

3. By letter dated April 22, 1986, the complainant forwarded to the respondent clerk copies of his request application and his letter of January 23, 1986 and asked to be advised of the status of his application.

 

4. By letter dated March 23, 1987, the complainant asked what steps were and would be taken by the land sale committee of the board of aldermen (hereinafter "land committee") on his request application.

 

5. By letter dated June 5, 1987, the complainant asked the respondent clerk to respond to his prior inquiries regarding the status of his request application.

 

6. By letter of complaint dated and filed with the Commission on May 12, 1988, the complainant alleged that the respondent clerk failed to provide him with personal notice of various meetings at which the sale of the property was discussed and failed to provide him with "notice of sale" of the property.

 

Docket #FIC 88-180 Page 2

 

7. The complainant also requested the Commission to rescind the sale of the property.

 

8. By letter dated August 9, 1988, the respondents requested the imposition of a civil penalty against the complainant.

 

9. The respondents claim:

 

a. The Commission lacks jurisdiction over the complaint because it was not filed within 30 days of an alleged violation.

 

b. The complainant failed to file a written request to receive notice of meetings within the meaning of 1-21c, G.S.

 

c. Absent a written request filed pursuant to 1-21c, G.S., they were not obligated to provide the complainant with personal notice by telephone or otherwise, of the meetings at which the property in question was discussed.

 

d. They are not required to provide the complainant with "notice of a sale" under the Freedom of Information Act (hereinafter "FOIA").

 

10. It is found that the land committee first met on August 24, 1987 to discuss the request application of LD & L Realty.

 

11. It is found that the land committee met on December 21, 1987 and accepted the request application of LD & L Realty. Counsel for the respondent city then began to process the appropriate paperwork for the closing on the property.

 

12. It is found that the respondent city delivered the deed of the property to LD & L Realty on April 12, 1988.

 

13. It is found that the complainant became aware that the property had been sold to LD & L Realty when he spoke to the respondent clerk on May 2, 1988.

 

14. With respect to the claim that the respondents failed to provide the complainant with notice of meetings pursuant to 1-21c, G.S., it is found that such meetings were held more than 30 days prior to the filing of the complaint.

 

Docket #FIC 88-180 Page 3

 

15. The Hearing Officer notes that the complainant did not allege that the various meetings held regarding the property were secret or unnoticed meetings.

 

16. It is concluded that the Commission lacks jurisdiction over the portion of the complaint described in paragraph 14, above, since the letter of complaint was not filed with the Commission within the prescribed time limits set forth in 1-21i(b), G.S.

 

17. It is found, however, that the Commission does have jurisdiction over the portion of the complaint concerning the respondents' failure to provide the complainant with "notice of sale."

 

18. It is found that there is no provision in the FOIA requiring an agency to notify, by telephone or otherwise, applicants or their attorneys of a sale of property.

 

19. It is concluded that the respondents' failure to provide the complainant with "notice of sale" did not constitute a violation of the Freedom of Information Act.

 

20. The Commission declines to impose a civil penalty against the complainant.

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

 

1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of November 9, 1988.

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission