FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Salvatore J. Presutti,
against Docket #FIC 1995-425
Paula Sampson, President
Connecticut Housing Investment Fund, Inc., and
Connecticut Housing Investment Fund, Inc.,
Respondents November 20, 1996
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 8 and September 5, 1996, at which times 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 dated December 5, 1995, and filed with this Commission on December 7, 1995, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondents are public agencies and that they violated the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOI”) Act by denying his request to promptly inspect and copy public records concerning housing projects on Beaver Street in New Britain, Connecticut.
2. At the hearings into this matter, the respondents claimed that they are private entities not subject to the provisions of the FOI Act, and they filed a motion to dismiss the appeal on that basis.
3. The four criteria to determine whether the respondent is the functional equivalent of a “public agency,” as provided in Board of Trustees v. FOI Commission, 181 Conn. 544, 554 (1980) and Connecticut Humane Society v. FOI Commission, 218 Conn. 757 (1991), are as follows:
a. whether the entity performs a governmental function;
b. the level of government funding;
c. the extent of government involvement and regulation; and
d. whether the entity was created by government.
4. It is found that the respondent Connecticut Housing Investment Fund, Inc., (“CHIF”) provides development advice to private non-profit development corporations to develop low-income housing, that they arrange bank financing and act as a loan servicer, and that they provide technical consulting services and homeownership counseling.
5. It is concluded that CHIF does not perform a traditional governmental function within the meaning of Board of Trustees, supra.
6. It is found that CHIF receives no direct grants or funding from government.
7. It is found that ninety-three percent of CHIF’s income is generated from contractual relationships under which it provides services, and that seven percent of its funding comes from private contributions and grants (predominantly corporations and foundations).
8. It is found that CHIF’s annual budget for fiscal year 1996 is approximately $800,000.00, and that its loan servicing portfolio is valued at approximately $39 million.
9. It is found that with respect to the Beaver Street redevelopment project in New Britain, Connecticut, CHIF was under contract with the state from May 1992 to March 1995 to provide accounting/cash management services, and that the total compensation owed to CHIF under this contract was $18,000.00.
10. It is found that the only other money received by CHIF from government agencies, including the municipalities of Hartford, East Hartford, West Hartford and Enfield, is in its capacity as a vendor of services to those entities.
11. It is concluded that the respondents are not publicly funded within the meaning of Board of Trustees, supra.
12. It is found that CHIF is subject to no regulatory control, reporting requirements or statutes other than those generally applicable to all persons and organizations in the state.
13. It is concluded that CHIF is not subject to substantial governmental involvement or regulation within the meaning of Board of Trustees, supra.
14. It is found that CHIF was created by three private individuals in 1964 who saw the need to help minorities buy houses in segregated neighborhoods, and that originally CHIF purchased the homes on behalf of the minorities involved.
15. It is found that CHIF is a private non-stock corporation.
16. It is found that CHIF is not chartered by the general assembly.
17. It is concluded that CHIF was not created by government.
18. It is concluded that the respondent CHIF and the respondent Sampson, as president of CHIF, are not the functional equivalent of public agencies within the meaning of Board of Trustees and Connecticut Humane Society, supra.
19. It is also concluded that the respondents are not public agencies within the meaning of §1-18a(a), G.S.
20. It is therefore concluded that the respondents are not subject to the open meeting and records provisions of the FOI Act. The respondents’ motion to dismiss identified in paragraph 2 of the findings, above, is accordingly granted.
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 20, 1996.
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
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:
Salvatore J. Presutti
5 Ridgeview Drive
Farmington, CT 06032
Paula Sampson, President, Connecticut Housing Investment Fund, Inc., and
Connecticut Housing Investment Fund, Inc.
c/o Christopher J. Fagan, Esq.
Mayo, Gilligan & Zito
100 Great Meadow Road
Wethersfield, CT 06109-2396
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission