FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
C. J. Mozzochi,
against Docket #FIC 92-204
Richard S. Borden, Jr., Glastonbury Town Manager,
Respondent June 11, 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 92-168 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. By letters dated June 14 and June 15, 1992 the complainant made nine requests for records of the respondent.
3. Specifically, the complainant requested: delinquent property tax bills for Hebron Avenue; bank statements for all Glastonbury accounts for March 1987; field assessment cards for Overlook Road; sign permits for the period January 1 through January 31, 1986, inclusive; police department daily log (for January 1 only) for 1980 through 1991; building permits for the period January 1 through February 1, 1977, inclusive; fire abatement orders for September 1 through December 31, 1985, inclusive; all lawsuits filed against the Town of Glastonbury between September 29 to February 23, 1987, inclusive; and a preliminary report regarding the procedure for choosing a town attorney.
4. Having failed to receive the requested records the complainant appealed to the Commission, by letter dated June 21, 1992, and filed with the Commission on June 22, 1992.
5. It is found that prior to the hearings in this matter the respondent provided the complainant with a copy of the preliminary report on the procedure for choosing a town attorney. The complainant has therefore, withdrawn that portion of his complaint.
Docket #FIC 92-204 Page 2
6. At the hearings in this matter the respondent 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 main purpose is to harass.
7. 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 cannot be deemed frivolous.
8. 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.
9. The Commission takes administrative notice of its record in Advisory Opinion #71.
10. Section 1-21i(b), G.S., provides in pertinent part that if the Commission finds 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, in its discretion, impose a civil penalty of not less than twenty dollars nor more than one thousand dollars.
11. 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....
12. It is found that the complainant has long engaged in an outrageous campaign of verbal and pictorial harassment of the respondent.
13. 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
Docket #FIC 92-204 Page 3
turn involving hundreds of pages of documents.
14. It is found that the complainant has in many cases, including the instant request, requested isolated portions of particular records over a long period of time, only to later request different isolated portions of the same records over the same period of time.
15. 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.
16. It is found, however, that the complainant's testimony in support of his claim of mathematically sound statistical method was not credible.
17. The complainant maintains that he is a self-sacrificing citizen acting in the public interest, seeking information about the workings of his town government.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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.
21. 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 few data bases, as happened in this case.
22. 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.
23. 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.
24. It is therefore found that the complainant has taken this appeal to the Commission frivolously, without reasonable
Docket #FIC 92-204 Page 4
grounds and solely for the purpose of harassing the respondent.
25. In light of the finding in paragraph 24, 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 June 9, 1993.
Debra L. Rembowski
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 92-204 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
P. O. Box 60
Glastonbury, CT 06073
Richard S. Borden, Jr., Glastonbury Town Manager
c/o Atty. William S. Rogers
Tyler, Cooper & Alcorn
CityPlace - 35th Floor
Hartford, CT 06103
Debra L. Rembowski
Acting Clerk of the Commission