FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

FINAL DECISION
Docket #FIC 1996-203
January 8, 1997
In the Matter of a Complaint by Michael J. Fox and Gasoline and Automotive Service Dealers of America, Inc., Complainants
against
State of Connecticut, Department of Transportation, Respondent

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 10, 1996, at which time the complainants and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. At the hearing, Mobil Oil Corporation, (hereinafter "Mobil"), was granted intervenor status and permitted to present testimony and argument on the complaint.

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. It is found that since February 1995, the complainants have requested that the respondent provide them with a copy of Mobil’s audited income and operating expense statements, required under the terms of Mobil’s 1988 contract with the State of Connecticut, (hereinafter "requested records").

3. It is found that the respondent most recently denied the request by letter dated May 7, 1996, claiming that the requested records are exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(5), G.S.

4. Having failed to receive the requested records, the complainants, by letter dated May 17, 1996 and filed with the Commission on May 23, 1996, alleged that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by denying them a copy of the requested records.

5. It is found that the respondent did not maintain the requested records until late March 1996 when Mobil gave them to the respondent.

6. It is found that the requested records, described in paragraph 5 above, are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.

7. Section 1-19(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that:

Except as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours or to receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-15.

8. Section 1-19(b)(5), G.S., permits the nondisclosure of "commercial or financial information given in confidence, not required by statute."

9. It is found that the requested records are "commercial or financial information" within the meaning of 1-19(b)(5), G.S.

10. It is also found that Mobil gave the requested records to the respondent in confidence, and the commission is unaware of any statute requiring the information.

11. It is therefore, concluded that the requested records are permissively exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(5), G.S.

12. It is further concluded that the respondent did not violate 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S., when they failed to provide the complainants with a copy of the requested records.

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 regular meeting of January 8, 1997.

__________________________
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:

Michael J. Fox and Gasoline and Automotive Service Dealers of America, Inc.
c/o Albert J. Barr, Esq.
Barr & LaCava
22 Fifth Street
Stamford, CT 06905

State of Connecticut, Department of Transportation
c/o Cornelius F. Tuohy, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
55 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106

Stephanie M. Gitlin, Esq.
Shipman & Goodwin
One American Row
Hartford, CT 06103-2819

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC 1996-203/FD/eal/011796