FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
against Docket #FIC 90-390
Andrew J. Canzonnetti, Chairman, University of Connecticut, Board of Trustees,
Respondent September 11, 1991
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 14 and April 19, 1991, at which times the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. Docket #'s FIC 90-391 through 90-398 were 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 respondent is a public agency within the meaning of §1-18a(a), G.S.
2. By letter dated August 13, 1990, the complainant requested that the respondent provide him with "access to and preferrably copies of all information concerning [him] personally or [his] affairs," and a copy of a complaint filed on or about September 1987.
3. By letter dated August 15, 1990, the respondent notified the complainant that all information in the possession of the respondent as a member of the University of Connecticut (hereinafter "University") had been provided to him on August 9, 1990.
4. By letter dated August 20, 1990, the complainant re-requested the information alleging that he had not been provided with all of the information requested.
5. By letter dated August 28, 1990, the respondent reiterated to the complainant that the information furnished to him on August 9, 1990 was in fact all of the information that existed in response to his request.
6. By letter dated September 1, 1990, the complainant again contacted the respondent and informed him of his disbelief that a March 24, 1988 letter was the sole document in the respondent's possession that complied with his request.
Docket #FIC 90-390 Page 2
7. By letter dated September 11, 1990, the respondent's counsel notified the complainant that "all reasonable efforts [had been] made to comply with [his] requests," and copies of all responsive documents that were in the University's possession had been furnished to the complainant on or about August 9, 1990.
8. By letter dated September 21, 1990, and filed with the Commission on September 24, 1990, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging a failure of the respondent to respond to and comply with his document request.
9. In his September 24, 1990 appeal to the Commission, the complainant also requested that the Commission "consider" an incident of an allegedly secret meeting between the respondent and several of his colleagues concerning the investigation of a complaint which the complainant had filed with the University that occurred some time in 1980.
10. The complainant also requested the imposition of civil penalties.
11. The respondent requested that the Commission take administrative notice of the record and case file in contested case docket #FIC 90-148.
12. The respondent argues that the issue before this Commission in contested case docket #'s FIC 90-390 through 90-398 was in fact heard and decided in contested case docket #FIC 90-148.
13. The respondent notes that the complaint in contested case docket #FIC 90-148 was dismissed in accordance with a settlement agreement entered into by the parties and complied with by the respondent on or about August 9, 1990.
14. The Commission takes administrative notice of the record and case file in contested case docket #FIC 90-148.
15. It is found that the issue of the respondent's noncompliance with the complainant's document request concerning information allegedly in the possession or custody of the named respondents in contested case docket #'s FIC 90-390 through 90-398, was in fact the subject of the complaint which was heard and decided in contested case docket #FIC 90-148.
Docket #FIC 90-390 Page 3
16. It is found that the information provided to the complainant by the respondent on or about August 9, 1990 in connection with the settlement agreement in docket #FIC 90-148, is all of the information in the possession of the respondent which is in any way responsive to the complainant's document request in this case.
17. It is found that based upon the complainant's claims of indigency the University provided him with approximately 825 pages of documents as part of the settlement agreement in contested case docket #FIC 90-148, free of charge.
18. At the hearing on this matter, the complainant testified that the documents he is seeking pertain to correspondence and submissions regarding a 1980 application to the University of California at Berkeley, and research papers that he wrote which were informally submitted to faculty members of the University.
19. It is found that the records the complainant is seeking are not documents that were supplied to the University or a member of the University faculty as part of coursework for a course offered by the University.
20. It is found that most of the records the complainant requested from the respondent are records that were created by the complainant.
21. It is found that the complainant retains either copies or drafts of what he allegedly supplies to the respondent.
22. It is found that there is no legal requirement that a University professor retain copies of every piece of correspondence allegedly generated by him, or allegedly sent to him by a student over the course of approximately ten years.
23. Section 1-18a(d) states in relevant part that:
"Public records or files" means any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received, or retained by a public agency, (emphasis added). . . .
24. It is found that under the circumstances of this case, most of the documents requested by the complainant are not public records within the meaning of §1-18a(d), G.S.
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25. However, it is found that all reasonable efforts have been made by the respondent to find and provide to the complainant the documents that are responsive to his request.
26. It is found that under the circumstances of this case, all records in the possession or custody of the University or University personnel pertaining to matters involving the complainant have been supplied to the complainant.
27. It is found that the respondent has complied with the disclosure requirements of §§1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., to the best of his ability.
28. It is found that this appeal is one of ten successive appeals by the complainant that have been based upon repeated requests for the same information.
29. It is found that with respect to the requested records this appeal was taken frivolously, without reasonable grounds and principally for the purpose of harassing the respondent.
30. It is found that with respect to the complainant's allegation of a "secret or illegal meeting" which occurred some time in 1980, this Commission is without subject matter jurisdiction because the appeal is not timely with respect to that allegation.
31. Section 1-21i(b), states in relevant part that:
.... A notice of appeal shall be filed within thirty days after such denial [of the right to inspect or copy records], except in the case of an unnoticed or secret meeting, in which case the appeal shall be filed within thirty days after the person filing the appeal receives notice in fact that such meeting was held....
32. The complainant maintains that he became aware of an allegedly secret or illegal meeting involving the respondent on or about August 9, 1990.
Docket #FIC 90-390 Page 5
33. The complainant's appeal was filed with this Commission on September 24, 1990, more than thirty days after the complainant contends that he first became aware of information which he relies upon as the basis for his allegation that an illegal or secret meeting took place some time in 1980.
34. It is concluded that with respect to his allegation of an illegal meeting, the complainant failed to comply with the mandatory time requirements for the filing of an appeal as set forth in §1-21i(b), G.S.
35. The record does not support the imposition of civil penalties against the respondent, and the Commission declines to impose them.
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 September 11, 1991.
Karen J. Haggett
Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC90-390 page 6
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:
Karen J. Haggett
Clerk of the Commission