FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Caroline L.D. Mendillo,
against Docket #FIC 94-78
Chairman, Stratford Theater Advisory Committee,
Respondent October 17, 1994
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 15, 1994, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. The hearing was reopened on August 15, 1994, to permit the complainant to offer new evidence on the complaint, but the complainant failed to appear at that time. Accordingly, the Commission declines to disturb the findings reached at the conclusion of the April 15, 1994 hearing into this matter, which are as follows.
After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:
1. By letter of complaint filed with this Commission on March 15, 1994, the complainant alleged that the respondent violated the provisions of the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by failing to respond to her request for minutes of the respondent's meetings.
2. It is found that by letter dated March 4, 1994, the complainant requested of the respondent the minutes of any and all meetings during which discussion of any of the three proposals submitted for the renovation of the Shakespeare Theatre property was discussed.
3. It is found that the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development ("DED") intended to respond to the complainant's inquiries about the Stratford Theater by providing to her any staff notes or memoranda that were in fact in existence, but he did not believe that the respondent was required to record official minutes. Finally, when he learned that the complainant wanted further records, he had staff notes transcribed into minutes.
4. The respondent's position at the hearing was that any and all DED records relating to the Stratford theater are available for public inspection but that the respondent is not a public agency for purposes of the FOI Act.
Docket #FIC 94-78 Page 2
5. It is found that by letter dated March 4, 1992, the Governor designated the DED to look into development options for the Stratford Theater.
6. It is found that based on that March 4, 1992 letter, the Deputy Commissioner of DED sought input from staff-level individuals from various areas of state government (which comprise the membership of the respondent), and that these staff people met on several occasions to share their impressions of various development options for the Stratford Theater with the Deputy Commissioner.
7. It is found that the respondent was created by state government within the meaning of Board of Trustees v. FOI Commission, 181 Conn. 544, 554 (1980).
8. It is also found, however, that the respondent is not publicly funded within the meaning of Board of Trustees, supra.
9. It is also found that the respondent is not subject to governmental regulation or oversight within the meaning of Board of Trustees, supra.
10. It is also found that the respondent does not perform a traditional public function within the meaning of Board of Trustees, supra.
11. On balance, it is concluded that the respondent is not the functional equivalent of a public agency within the meaning of Board of Trustees, supra, and Connecticut Humane Society v. FOI Commission, 218 Conn. 757 (1991).
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 October 12, 1994.
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 94-78 Page 3
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:
CAROLINE L.D. MENDILLO
50 Shore Road
Stratford, CT 06497
CHAIRMAN, STRATFORD THEATER ADVISORY COMMITTEE
c/o William J. Prensky, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
110 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT 06105
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission