FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
C. J. Mozzochi,
against Docket #FIC 92-168
Richard S. Borden, Jr., Glastonbury Town Manager,
Respondent May 12, 1993
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 6 and December 4, 1992, and January 22, 1993, 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 92-204 and 92-216, 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. Through a series of letters dated between April 29, 1992 and May 8, 1992 the complainant made five requests of the respondent as follows:
a. to inspect each file, opened on or after January 1, 1980, regarding any business conducted by the Town of Glastonbury (hereinafter "Town") with the firm of Paindiris and Brown;
b. a copy of each sign permit application filed with the Town during the period January 1, 1985 through December 31, 1985 inclusive;
c. a copy of the Police Department daily log for the date of May 18, 1980 through 1991 inclusive;
d. a copy of records of all lawsuits filed against the Town after February 23, 1988; and
e. a copy of the first pay check paid to Richard Borden Jr., in 1980 through 1991, inclusive.
Docket #FIC 92-168 Page 2
3. Having failed to receive all the records requested the complainant appealed to the Commission, by letter dated May 20, 1992, and filed with the Commission on May 21, 1992.
4. It is found that prior to the hearing in this matter, the respondent provided the complainant with certain records responsive to a portion of the complainant's request for records, specifically, the records described in paragraph 2b. and 2e., above.
5. It is found that by letter dated June 10, 1992, the respondent agreed to provide the complainant with copies of the requested records described in paragraph 2c. and 2d., above. However, the respondent has failed to do so. Consequently, access to the records identified in paragraphs 2a., 2c. and 2d., above, remain at issue.
6. It is found that in its May 20, 1992 letter, the respondent denied the complainant's request for the records described in paragraph 2a., above, claiming that the Commission's Advisory Opinion #71 involving the same subject matter remains pending, that a similar appeal to the Commission was denied in Commission contested case docket FIC #88-79 and that a like request is the subject of a pending Commission case, FIC #91-291.
7. At the hearings in this matter the respondent also claimed that the complainant's requests were not complied with because the complainant's principal purpose was to harass the respondent. Specifically, the respondent claims that the frivolous, unreasonable nature and subject matter of the requests, the number, frequency and magnitude of the requests, the volume, content and obscene correspondence simultaneously sent with the requests and the 15 year history of the complainant's conduct establishes that the complainant's principal purpose is to harass.
8. In turn, the complainant maintains that he is entitled by law to copies of nonexempt records, regardless of his motive, and that therefore his appeal can not be deemed frivolous.
9. Both the complainant and the respondent requested the imposition of civil penalties against each other, in accordance with the provisions of 1-21i(b), G.S.; and in addition, the respondent requested that the Commission issue findings as set forth in 52-568(b), G.S.
10. The Commission takes administrative notice of its records in Advisory Opinion #71.
Docket #FIC 92-168 Page 3
11. Section 1-21i(b), G.S., provides in pertinent part that if the Commission finds that either a denial of any right was without reasonable grounds, or that a person has taken an appeal to the Commission frivolously, without reasonable grounds and solely for the purpose of harassing the agency against which the appeal has been taken, it may impose a civil penalty of not less than twenty dollars nor more than one thousand dollars.
12. Section 52-568(b), G.S., provides in pertinent part:
A public agency... may bring an action to the superior court against any person who, within a twenty-four month period ... commenced and prosecuted at least two appeals before the freedom of information commission under 1-21i and who was found by the commission in at least two such cases to have brought the appeals (1) frivolously, (2) without reasonable grounds and (3) principally for the purpose of harassing the agency against which the appeal is taken....
13. It is found that the complainant has long engaged in an outrageous campaign of verbal and pictorial harassment of the respondent.
14. It is found that the complainant has himself or through his agents made hundreds of requests for documents from the respondent and the Town of Glastonbury, many of such requests in turn involving hundreds of pages of documents.
15. It is found that the complainant has in many cases, including the instant request, requested only isolated portions of a particular records over a long period of time, only to later request different isolated portions of the same record over the same period of time.
16. The complainant maintains that he is an advanced mathematician and that his method of requesting information is for statistical sampling of the records in question.
17. It is found, however, that the complainant's testimony in support of his claim of mathematically sound statistical method was not credible.
18. The complainant maintains that he is a self-sacrificing citizen acting in the public interest, seeking information about the workings of his town government.
19. It is found, however, that the complainant is relentlessly and unreasonably attacking his local government through irrational distortions of public records and contumely against public officials.
Docket #FIC 92-168 Page 4
20. It is found that the complainant is simply at war with the respondent, using unduly burdensome requests for documents and appeals from denials of any such requests solely to harass the respondent.
21. It is also found that the complainant's constant appeals to the FOI Commission of record denials which he has himself engineered, including this appeal, are not the actions of a man acting upon reasonable grounds.
22. It is found that the respondent has not engaged in a pattern of denying all of the complainant's requests, but only those requests which it perceives as harassing, such as a series of requests for isolated information from a single data base, as happened in this case.
23. It is also found that the complainant persists in presenting his requests in an intentionally burdensome manner, fully aware that reasonable requests for similar records will be met by the respondent.
24. It is therefore found that the complainant's practice of bringing appeals from denials of requests which he has deliberately framed in order that they will be denied, as he has done in this case, is entirely frivolous.
25. It is therefore found that the complainant has taken this appeal to the Commission frivolously, without reasonable grounds and solely for the purpose of harassing the respondent.
26. In light of the finding in paragraph 25, above, the Commission in its discretion declines to find that the respondent violated the FOI Act by failing to provide the complainant with the requested record.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The complaint is dismissed.
2. Within 30 days of the date of issuance of this final decision, the complainant shall remit to the Commission a civil penalty in the amount of $500.00.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 12, 1993.
Debra L. Rembowski
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 92-168 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:
C. J. Mozzochi
South Glastonbury, CT. 06073
Richard S. Borden, Jr., Glastonbury Town Manager
c/o William S. Rogers, Esq.
Tyler Cooper & Alcorn
City Place - 35th Floor
Hartford, CT. 06103
Debra L. Rembowski
Acting Clerk of the Commission