FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision

 

Richard H. Kosinski,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 90-506

 

State of Connecticut, Office of the Attorney General,

 

Respondent November 13, 1991

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 11, 1991, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. Docket #FIC 90-505, Richard H. Kosinski v. Superintendent of Schools, Consolidated School District of New Britain, was consolidated for hearing withe the above-captioned matter.

 

At the April 11, 1991 hearing on the above-captioned matter, the respondent made a request to submit the records at issue to the Commission for in camera review. The request for an in camera submission was granted by the hearing officer. The records at issue were submitted for in camera inspection on April 25, 1991. The following documents were submitted for in camera review:

 

Document Name In Camera Document #

 

Scholarship Application Form 90-506-1 and 2

Scholarship Financial Aid Form 90-506-3, 4, 5 and 6

Scholarship Applicant Letter 90-506-7

Student High School Transcript 90-506-8 and 9

Scholarship Letters of Recommendation 90-506-10 through 16

College Financial Aid Records 90-506-17 through 24

 

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.

 

Docket #FIC 90-506 Page 2

 

2. By letter dated November 23, 1990, the complainant requested that the respondent provide him with copies of all documents in "[its] possession or control related to [its] investigation, beginning in or about the summer of 1990, of the Walter J. Kenney Scholarship Fund (hereinafter "trust").

 

3. By reply letter dated December 3, 1990, the respondent provided the complainant with copies of approximately fourteen documents comprising the "public records" relating to its handling of the trust investigation.

 

4. In its December 3rd letter the respondent also informed the complainant that there was "other material in [its] file that [it] declined to disclose on the grounds that it:"

 

a) would invade the personal privacy of scholarship

applicant, David Guidice;

b) would be contrary to state and federal law;

c) is attorney work-product; and

d) constitutes communications privileged by the

attorney-client relationship.

 

5. By letter dated December 10, 1990, the complainant requested that the respondent identify the documents that were not disclosed to him pursuant to his original request.

 

6. By reply letter dated December 18, 1990, the respondent indicated that among the documents withheld from disclosure was a draft of a summons and complaint, and other documents that could not be identified because to do so would breach the attorney-client privilege.

 

7. By letter dated December 28, 1990, and filed with the Commission on December 28, 1990, the complainant alleged a failure of the respondent to further respond to and fully comply with his original and amended document requests.

 

8. At the hearing on this matter the complainant withdrew his request and complaint as to all documents for which either attorney-client privilege or attorney work product are claimed.

 

9. It is found that the only records at issue are the records pertaining to the scholarship application of David Guidice (hereinafter "application"), and supporting documents.

 

Docket #FIC 90-506 Page 3

 

10. Specifically, the data remaining in dispute are documents that were sent to the Walter J. Kenney Scholarship Committee (hereinafter "scholarship committee") on David Guidice's behalf:

 

(a) the application form;

(b) a letter from David Guidice (hereinafter "applicant");

(c) financial aid forms and records from the applicant; and

(d) the applicant's high school transcript and letters of

recommendation.

 

11. It is found that in June, 1990, the respondent commenced an investigation into the administration of the trust fund.

 

12. It is found that the documents at issue are part of a file of information compiled in connection with the respondent's investigation into the allegations of wrongdoing in the administration of the trust.

 

13. It is found that the respondent acquired the information described in paragraph 10 of the findings above, because it was submitted to the scholarship committee at a time when the trust was being investigated.

 

14. It is found that in accordance with the requirements of the scholarship fund, the applicant submitted personal biographical, financial and academic information, as well as information about the applicant's family's personal finances to the scholarship committee.

 

15. It is found that at the time the information was provided to the scholarship committee by the applicant, the applicant had a reasonable expectation that the personal privacy rights that he and his family have in the information provided, would be protected by the scholarship committee and the scholarship selection process.

 

16. After a thorough review of the documents described in paragraph 10 of the findings above, that were submitted for in camera inspection, it is found that the documents are exceedingly personal in nature.

 

Docket #FIC 90-506 Page 4

 

17. Section 1-18a(d), G.S., in pertinent part, states that a "public record or file" 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].

 

18. It is found that the information contained in the documents that the complainant is seeking was provided for a private purpose to the scholarship committee.

 

19. Given the extraordinarily personal nature of the information, the circumstances under which it was solicited and provided, and the way in which it came into the custody of the respondent, it is concluded that the documents the complainant is seeking are not public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.

 

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 November 13, 1991.

 

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission

 

Docket #FIC 90-506 Page 5

 

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:

Richard H. Kosinski, Esq.

106 Farmington Avenue

New Britain, CT 06053

 

State of Connecticut

Office of the Attorney General

c/o Carolyn K. Querijero

Assistant Attorney General

55 Elm Street

P.O. Box 120

Hartford, CT 06101

 

 

Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission