FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Mark Benigni,
Complainants
against Docket #FIC 1998-213
Chief Executive Director,
Meri-Weather, Inc.; and
Meri-Weather, Inc.,
Respondents January 13, 1999


        The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 9, 1998, at which time 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 dated June 28, 1998, the complainant requested that the respondents provide him with access to inspect, and perhaps copies of, any and all of the respondents’:

financial records;

contracts;

filings with the Connecticut Secretary of the State;

correspondence with the Meriden Community Action Agency;

grants applied for and/or received, as well as records associated with the disbursement of funds from said grants; and

payroll records.

        2. By letter dated July 2, 1998, the respondents declined to provide access to the requested records based upon its belief that Meri-Weather, Inc., is not subject to the Freedom of Information [hereinafter "FOI"] Act.

        3. By letter dated July 20, 1998, and filed on July 22, 1998, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the FOI Act by denying him access to the requested records.

 

        4. With the agreement of the parties, the Commission takes administrative notice of the record and final decision in the matter of Docket #FIC 1998-092; Michael Kelly and The Record-Journal Publishing Company against Meri-Weather, Inc.

        5. Accordingly, it is concluded that Meri-Weather, Inc. is the functional equivalent of a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(1), G.S.

        6. It is therefore found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-19(a), G.S.

        7. Section 1-19(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that "[e]xcept as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency…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…."

        8. Consequently, it is concluded that the respondents violated 1-19(a), G.S., when they declined to permit the complainant to inspect the requested records, as described in paragraph 1, above.

 

        The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

        1. The respondents shall permit the complainant to inspect the requested records forthwith.

        2. In complying with paragraph 1 of the order, the respondents may withhold any record properly exempt from mandatory disclosure by virtue of federal law or state statute.

 

 

 

        Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 13, 1999.

 

 

_________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

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:

 

Mark Benigni

c/o Atty. Christopher Hankins

Deputy City Attorney

Department of Law

142 East Main Street

Meriden, CT 06450

Chief Executive Director,

Meri-Weather, Inc.; and

Meri-Weather, Inc.

c/o Atty. David L. Metzger

Metzger & Richters LLP

25 Capitol Avenue

Hartford, CT 06106

 

 

 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC1998-213FD/mrb01141999