FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Charisse E. Hutton, Catherine M. Forcey and Valley Legal Assistance,
against Docket #FIC 90-441
Florence A. Villano, Executive Director, Ansonia RedevelopmentAgency,
Respondent August 28, 1991
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 22, 1991, at which time the complainants 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 and conclusions of law are reached:
1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
2. By letter to the respondent dated June 25, 1990, the complainants requested that she provide copies of public records and that the fees for such be waived pursuant to 1-15, G.S., because the request was made on behalf of indigent residents whom the complainants represent in a legal capacity.
3. By letter dated August 28, the respondent informed the complainants that the claim of indigency had not been proven to the satisfaction of her office, and the respondent further pointed out that the complainants' study of the "Small Cities Program" is being done with grant funds, which grant funds should be used to fund their document request.
4. By letter dated October 12, 1990, and in response to the respondent's August 28 letter, the complainants forwarded to the respondent an affidavit of indigency signed by a Ms. Cooks to establish that the complainants represent indigent clients. The complainants also renewed the earlier document request.
5. On November 8, 1990, the complainants appealed the respondent's denial of a fee waiver and requested the imposition of civil penalties against her.
Docket #FIC 90-441 Page 2
6. It is found that the complainants were investigating whether certain federal funds provided to the state and then to small cities for the provision of low to moderate income housing and jobs had been appropriately spent. In conducting this investigation of the "Small Cities Program," the complainants estimated that they sought copies of 200 or more documents from the respondent.
7. It is found that Ms. Cooks has no personal use for the requested documents, but rather that she was an intended beneficiary of the complainants' determination of whether the public funds identified in paragraph 6, above, were used properly.
8. It is also found that at the hearing, the individual complainants lacked personal knowledge of the legal services Ms. Cooks requested of them; and, furthermore, the complainants were unable to document any evidence that Ms. Cooks requested the investigation identified in paragraph 6, above.
9. It is also found that Ms. Cooks' application for services by the complainants was filed on June 26, 1990, one day after the complainants' initial request for records and a fee waiver pursuant to 1-15, G.S.
10. At the hearing, the respondent made a motion to dismiss the case on the basis that Ms. Cook's June 26 retainer and subsequent affidavit of indigency were irrelevant to the complainant's June 25 records request, and, accordingly, the complainants failed to produce any evidence upon which to conclude that the complainants were indigent within the meaning of the FOI Act.
11. The Commission hereby grants the respondent's motion to dismiss this case.
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 regular meeting of August 28, 1991.
Karen J. Haggett
Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 90-441 Page 3
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:
KATHERINE M. FORCEY, ESQ.
30 Elizabeth Street
Derby, CT 06418
JOSEPH B. BUCKLEY, ESQ.
Buckley & Teodosio
40 Franklin St.
Ansonia, CT 06401
Karen J. Haggett
Clerk of the Commission