FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by            FINAL DECISION

 

John G. Carlton, Stephen J. Humes and The Bridgeport Post,

 

                        Complainant(s)

 

            against              Docket #FIC 90-299

 

Mary C. Moran, Mayor of Bridgeport and John K. Ricci, Bridgeport Transportation Director,

 

                        Respondent(s)              December 12, 1990

 

            The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 6, 1990, at which time the complainants and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  Docket #FIC 90-303 was consolidated for hearing with the above-captioned matter.

 

            After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:

 

            1.  The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

            2.  On August 10, 1990, the complainants made written requests to the respondents to:

            (a)  inspect any file with correspondence or other documents since January 1, 1985, concerning the purchase and/or disposition of land as it pertains to Joseph Garamella's proposed land swap transaction with Sikorsky Memorial Airport (hereinafter "land swap"); and

 

            (b)  copy any document, memorandum, letter, agreement or interdepartmental correspondence between the respondents, or the respondents and the Bridgeport city attorney's office, relating to the proposed land swap.

 

            3.  By letter of complaint dated August 14, 1990, and filed with the Commission on August 15, 1990, the complainants alleged that the respondents failed to comply with their document requests.

 

            4.  The complainants request the imposition of civil penalties.

 

Docket #FIC 90-299                                      Page 2

 

            5.  It is found that the respondents have disclosed all of the records requested, with the exception of eight documents which they allege are exempt from disclosure.

 

            6.  It is concluded that the requested records are public records, as defined by 1-18a(d), G.S.

 

            7.  The respondents claim that the eight documents that have been withheld from public inspection and photocopying are exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(4), G.S., regarding documents relating to pending claims and litigation, and 1-19(b)(10), G.S., as communications privileged by the attorney-client relationship.

 

            8.  It is found that there is a pending civil action which involves the property which is the subject of the complainants' document request.

 

            9.  It is concluded, however, that the respondents failed to show that the information contained in the documents described in paragraph 4 of the findings, above, pertains to strategy and negotiations with respect to the pending lawsuit within the meaning of 1-19(b)(4), G.S.

 

            10.  It is found that the respondents failed to offer any proof that the documents withheld are either confidential or contain confidential communications between the respondents and the city attorney within the meaning of 1-19(b)(10), G.S.

 

            11.  It is concluded, therefore, that the requested records are not exempt from disclosure by either 1-19(b)(4) or 1-19(b)(10), G.S., and are subject to disclosure pursuant to 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

            12.  The Commission declines to impose civil penalties as requested by the complainants.

 

            The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended

on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

 

Docket #FIC 90-299                                   Page 3

 

            1.  The respondents shall forthwith provide the complainants with certified copies of the documents more fully described in paragraphs 2 and 4 of the findings, above.

 

            2.  Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the disclosure provisions for public records, as set forth in 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of December 12, 1990.

 

                                                         

                                    Tina C. Frappier

                                    Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

Docket #FIC 90-299                                   Page 4

 

PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.

 

THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:

JOHN C. CARLTON, STEPHEN J. HUMES AND THE BRIDGEPORT POST

410 State Street

Bridgeport, CT 06604

 

MARY C. MORAN, MAYOR OF BRIDGEPORT AND JOHN K. RICCI, BRIDGEPORT TRANSPORTATION DIRECTOR

c/o Robert G. Zanesky, Esq.

Associate City Attorney

202 State Street

Bridgeport, CT 06604

 

                                                         

                                    Tina C. Frappier

                                    Acting Clerk of the Commission