FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by                        Final Decision

 

Joseph T. Olesky,

 

                        Complainant

 

            against              Docket #FIC 91-382

 

Chairman, Enfield Fourth of July Town Celebration Committee and Enfield Fourth of July Town Celebration Committee,

 

                        Respondents                 November 23, 1992

 

            The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 15, 1992, 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 and conclusions of law are reached:

 

            1.         By letter of complaint filed November 29, 1991, the complainant appealed to the Commission, asking if the respondents are public agencies, and alleging that the respondents had not responded to his request for information.

 

            2.         By letter dated November 10, 1991, the complainant wrote the respondent requesting the following information:

 

                        a.         the manhours expended by town employees for preparing, monitoring, maintaining and restoring Fourth of July Festival related activities;

 

                        b.         the cost of labor for item (a);

 

                        c.         whether the Fourth of July Committee reimbursed the town for item (b);

 

                        d.         the total cost of alcohol purchased for this year's event; and

 

                        e.         the cash receipts or total income from the sale of alcohol for this year's event.

 

            3.         At the hearing, the respondents moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that they are not public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

            4.         It is found that the respondent committee is a corporation created in 1985 to organize a traditional Fourth of July celebration in the Town of Enfield.

 

Docket #FIC 91-382                           Page 2

 

            5.         It is found that the celebration consists of a parade, entertainment and games on town grounds, refreshments, boat rides, a fireworks display, a craft fair, bingo, a pie-eating contest, a horseshoe contest, and barbershop music.

 

            6.         It is concluded that the respondent committee does not perform a traditional governmental function.

 

            7.         It is found that before the respondent committee was formed, the celebration had been organized by the Jaycees, and that the members of the Jaycees who organized the celebration formed the respondent committee.

 

            8.         It is concluded that the respondent was not created by the Town of Enfield or any other government agency.

 

            9.         It is found that the Town of Enfield provides no direct funding to the respondent committee.

 

            10.       It is found that the Town of Enfield contributes some goods, such as electricity, and the services of some town employees, such as police and public works employees, to the respondent committee, the value of which is approximately ten to fifteen percent of the respondent's yearly budget.

 

            11.       It is found that the respondent committee reimburses the Town for approximately 20 to 40 percent of the value of the contributed services.

 

            12.       It is concluded that the respondent committee receives approximately ten percent of its funding from unreimbursed governmental services.

 

            13.       It is found that the Town of Enfield solicits proposals from several private nonprofit organizations, including the Rotary and the Lions, to organize and run a Fourth of July celebration in Enfield.

 

            14.       It is found that the respondent committee has organized and run the Fourth of July celebration in Enfield since 1985.

 

            15.       It is found that the Enfield town manager serves as a liaison between the respondent committee and the town government.

 

            16.       It is concluded that the Town of Enfield exercises no specific authority over or regulation of the respondent committee, and that the town and the committee are not significantly intertwined.

 

Docket #FIC 91-382                           Page 3

 

            17.       It is therefore concluded that the respondent committee is not the functional equivalent of a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S., and the respondents' motion to dismiss the complaint is therefore granted.

 

            18.       At the hearing, the respondent moved that the Commission impose a civil penalty pursuant to 1-21i(b), G.S., because the complainant "files frivolous appeals for the purpose of harassment and, unless a fine is imposed now, he will probably continue to do so."

 

            19.       At the request of the respondent, the Commission takes administrative notice of its records and decisions in Docket #'s FIC 90-404, Joseph T. Olesky against Mayor of Enfield and Enfield Town Manager, FIC 90-121, Joseph T. Olesky against Mayor, Town of Enfield and Enfield Fourth of July Town Celebration Committee, Inc. and FIC FIC 90-275, Enfield Fourth of July Town Celebration Committee, Inc., against Joseph T. Olesky.

 

            20.       It is found that the complainant has sought and received information and records from the respondents, and that the only records he has not promptly received are records he knows or has reason to know do not exist.

 

            21.       It is concluded that, even if the respondents were public agencies, there is no relief available to the complainant that is within the power of the Commission to give.

 

            22.       It is therefore concluded that the appeal in this matter was taken frivolously within the meaning of 1-21i(b), G.S.

 

            23.       It is found that the complainant produced no substantial evidence to support his claim that the respondents are public agencies.

 

            24.       It is also found that, based on the overwhelming evidence in this case, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

            25.       It is therefore concluded that the appeal in this matter was filed without reasonable grounds within the meaning of 1-21i(b), G.S..

 

            26.       It is found that the complainant has admitted an intent to "destroy" the respondent committee, has undertaken a campaign of personal verbal attacks on the respondent chairman, and has filed numerous unsubstantiated complaints against the respondent committee, including complaints to the State's Attorney, the State Liquor Control Commission, the Secretary of the State, the Enfield Police, and the State Department of Consumer Protection.

 

Docket #FIC 91-382                           Page 4

 

            27.       It is concluded that the appeal in this matter was filed solely for the purpose of harassing the respondents within the meaning of 1-21i(b), 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 special meeting of November 23, 1992.

 

                                                                 

                                    Debra L. Rembowski

                                    Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

Docket #FIC 91-382                           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:

Joseph T. Olesky

2 Thomas Street

Enfield, CT 06082

 

Chairman, Enfield Fourth of July Town Celebration Committee and

Enfield Fourth of July Town Celebration Committee

c/o Attorney William F. McDonald

P.O. Box 478

Somers, CT 06071

 

                                                                 

                                    Debra L. Rembowski

                                    Acting Clerk of the Commission