FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Mike Swift and The Hartford
Courant,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-035
Chief of Staff, Office of the Mayor,
City of Hartford, and Office of the
Mayor, City of Hartford
Respondents August 26, 1998
	The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 18, 1998 at 
which time the complainants and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and 
presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  The respondents submitted 
the records at issue to the Commission on April 20, 1998 for an in camera inspection.  In 
addition, at the hearing in this matter, the complainants submitted a document to the 
Commission for in camera review.  Such document summarizes some of the information 
contained in the in camera records submitted by the respondents.
	After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and 
conclusions of law are reached:
	1.  The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(1), G.S.
	2.  It is found that during the latter part of 1997 the city of Hartford (“city”) 
received responses to the city’s request for proposal for the redevelopment of a seven 
parcel piece of property (“RFP”), owned by the city and located in downtown Hartford, 
commonly referred to as the Cutter Site.
	3.  It is found that by letter dated January 21, 1998, the complainants requested 
that the respondents provide them with copies of the RFP responses being reviewed by 
the city council and other officials.
	4.  It is found that by letter dated January 27, 1998, the respondents denied the 
request, indicating that the RFP responses are exempt from disclosure.
	5.  Having failed to receive the requested records, the complainants appealed to 
the Commission by letter dated January 29, 1998 and filed on January 30, 1998, alleging 
that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by denying them a 
copy of the RFP responses.  The complainants requested that a civil penalty be imposed 
upon the respondents because the city has continued to deny them access to the RFP 
responses even though the issue of disclosure of such RFP responses has been previously 
decided by both the Commission and the courts.
	6.  Section 1-18a(5), G.S., defines public records as “[a]ny recorded data or 
information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, 
received or retained by a public agency, whether such data or information be handwritten, 
typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other 
method.”
	7.  Section 1-19(a), G.S., in relevant part, further provides:
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.  Any agency rule or regulation, 
or part thereof, that conflicts with the provisions of this subsection 
or diminishes or curtails in any way the rights granted by this 
subsection shall be void.
	8.  It is found that the respondents maintain the RFP responses, and such records 
are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(5) and 1-19(a), G.S.
	9.  The respondents contend that the RFP responses constitute “commercially 
valuable” plans exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(5), G.S., and “statements of 
financial worth” exempt pursuant to 1-19(b)(8), G.S.
	10.  Section 1-19(b)(5), G.S., permits the nondisclosure of:
trade secrets, which for purposes of the Freedom of 
Information Act, are defined as unpatented, secret, 
commercially valuable plans, appliances, formulas, or 
processes, which are used for the making, preparing, 
compounding, treating or processing of articles or materials 
which are trade commodities obtained from a person and 
which are recognized by law as confidential, and 
commercial or financial information given in confidence, 
not required by statute.
	11.  Section 1-19(b)(8), G,S., further permits the nondisclosure of:
statements of personal worth or personal financial data required by a 
licensing agency and filed by an applicant with such licensing 
agency to establish his personal qualification for the license, 
certificate or permit applied for.
	12.  Following the hearing in this matter, the RFP responses were reviewed in 
camera.  The RFP responses comprise 407 pages and have been designated, for 
identification purpose, IC#1998-035-1 through IC#1998-035-407.  IC#1998-035-148, 
except for a two word heading, is a blank page.
	13.  It s found that the proposals contain the names and addresses of the entities 
and individuals involved in each proposed development plan, a description of the 
development plan, a summary of the developers’ sources of funding, finance plan, 
projected costs, intended uses of funds, projected development schedule, projected 
operating revenue and expenses, resume and experience, lender references, property 
manager profile, maps and drawings of the development plan and photographs of 
buildings.  The RFP responses also contain individuals’ social security numbers.
	14.  With respect to the claim of an exemption pursuant to 1-19(b)(8), G.S., it is 
found that the proposals do not constitute statements of personal worth or personal 
financial data required by a licensing agency and filed by an applicant with such licensing 
agency to establish the applicant’s personal qualification for a license, certificate or 
permit applied for, within the meaning of 1-19(b)(8), G.S.
	15.  Consequently, it is concluded that the proposals are not exempt from 
disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(8), G.S.
	16.  With respect to the claim of an exemption pursuant to 1-19(b)(5), G.S., it is 
found that the proposals are not trade secrets, defined as unpatented, secret, commercially 
valuable plans, appliances, formulas, or processes, used for the making, preparing, 
compounding, treating or processing of articles or materials which are trade commodities 
obtained from a person and recognized by law as confidential, within the meaning of 1-
19(b)(5), G.S.
	17.  It is found however, that some of the information contained in the RFP 
responses constitutes “commercial or financial information” within the meaning of 1-
19(b)(5), G.S.
	18.  It is further found that IC#1998-035-39, IC#1998-035-270 and IC#1998-035-
271 constitute commercial or financial information given in confidence, within the 
meaning of 1-19(b)(5), G.S., and the Commission is unaware of any statute requiring the 
submission of such information to the respondents.
	19.  Consequently, it is concluded that IC#1998-035-39, IC#1998-035-270 and 
IC#1998-035-271 are exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(5), G.S.
	20.  It is further found however, that the respondents failed to prove that with the 
exception of the records described in paragraph 19, above, any other information 
contained in the RFP responses constitutes commercial or financial information that was 
“given in confidence” within the meaning of 1-19(b)(5), G.S.
	21.  It is therefore, concluded that with the exception of IC#1998-035-39, 
IC#1998-035-270 and IC#1998-035-271, the RFP responses are not exempt from 
disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(5), G.S.
	22.  It is further concluded that the respondents violated 1-15(a) and 1-19(a), 
G.S., when they failed to promptly provide the complainants with a copy of the RFP 
responses, with the exception of IC#1998-035-39, IC#1998-035-270 and IC#1998-035-
271.
	23.  It is further found that the violation described in paragraph 22, above, was 
without reasonable grounds.
	The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of 
the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
	1.  Forthwith, the respondents shall provide the complainants with a copy of the 
RFP responses, with the exception of IC#1998-035-39, IC#1998-035-270 and IC#1998-
035-271.
	2.  The Commission in its discretion declines to order the disclosure of social 
security numbers.  The respondents may therefore, redact the social security numbers 
contained in IC#1998-035-3, IC#1998-035-42, IC#1998-035-94, IC#1998-035-227 and 
IC#1998-035-344 in complying with paragraph 1 of the order.  In addition, the 
respondents may redact all personal bank account information contained in IC#1998-035-
323, which information the complainant indicated at the hearing he was not seeking.
	3.  Forthwith, the respondent chief of staff shall remit to the Commission a civil 
penalty in the amount of $300.00.

	Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular 
meeting of August 26, 1998.


_________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
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:
Mike Swift and The Hartford Courant
285 Broad Street
Hartford, CT 06115
Chief of Staff, Office of the Mayor,
City of Hartford, and Office of the
Mayor, City of Hartford
c/o Atty. Ivan A. Ramos
Special Counsel
Office of Corporation Counsel
550 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06103


__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission




FIC1998-035/FD/tcg/08281998