FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Michael Mercuriano,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2004-434

West Haven Economic Development

Corporation,

 
  Respondent July 13, 2005
       

 

            The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 17, 2005, at which time the complainant and the respondent 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.  The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

            2.  By letter of complaint dated and filed on September 21, 2004, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (hereinafter “FOI”) Act by:

 

a.  requiring the complainant, as a condition to attend a September 21, 2004 meeting of the respondent, to explain why he was present; and

 

b.  denying the complainant the right to attend a September 21, 2004 meeting of the respondent.

 

3.  Section 1-225(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that “[t]he meetings of all public agencies, except executive sessions, as defined in subdivision (6) of section 1-200, shall be open to the public.”

 

4.  Section 1-225(e), G.S., further provides: “[N]o member of the public shall be required, as a condition to attendance at a meeting of any such body, to register the member’s name, or furnish other information, or complete a questionnaire or otherwise fulfill any condition precedent to the member’s attendance.”  [Emphasis added.]

 

5.  It is found that the respondent held a regular meeting on September 21, 2004 (hereinafter “meeting”).

6.  With respect to the allegation described in paragraph 2a, above, it is found that, during the meeting, the respondent asked the complainant if there was any specific topic that he would like to discuss and if he had any specific questions he would like to ask the respondent.  It is further found that the complainant replied “no” on both accounts and that the respondent then asked the complainant in what capacity he was attending the meeting.  It is also found that the complainant replied that he was attending as a public citizen, and was subsequently told to leave the meeting.

7.  Consequently, it is found that the respondent did “require” that the complainant, as a condition of attending the meeting, furnish other information, or otherwise fulfill a condition precedent to the complainant being allowed to attend the meeting, within the meaning of 1-225(e), G.S.

8.  It is therefore concluded that the respondent violated 1-225(e), G.S., as alleged in paragraph 2a, above.

9.  With respect to the allegation described in paragraph 2b, above, it is found that the complainant was not permitted to attend the meeting.

 

10.  It is therefore concluded that the respondent violated 1-225(a), G.S., as alleged in paragraph 2b, above.

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

1.  Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the meeting requirements set forth at 1-225(a) and 1-225(e), G.S.

                                               

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 13, 2005.

 

________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

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 Mercuriano

74 Oxbow Lane

West Haven, CT 06516

 

West Haven Economic

Development Corporation

c/o Scott DeLaura, Esq.

528 Chapel Street

New Haven, CT 06511

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2004-434FD/paj/7/18/2005