FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Peter Rusciano,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2009-094
Health Department, City of Stamford,  
  Respondent July 22, 2009
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 20, 2009, 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.      It is found that by letter dated January 2, 2009, the complainant requested a copy of all records relating to 460 Taconic Road.

 

3.      It is found that on February 4, 2009, the respondent informed the complainant that she compiled 129 pages of responsive records.  It is found that the respondent provided such copies to the complainant, but redacted the name and other identifying information of the person or persons who made the complaint or complaints to the health department.

 

4.      By letter dated February 20, 2009, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to disclose the redacted information on the records provided to him by the respondent.

 

5.      Section 1-200(5), G.S., in relevant part, defines “public records” as follows:

 

Public records or files means any 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.

 

 

6.      Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides, in relevant part:

 

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 1-212.

 

7.      Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:  “Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.”

 

8.      The respondent claims that it is a law enforcement agency and the identity of the complaining person is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-210(b)(3)(A), G.S. 

 

9.      Section 1-210(b)(3)(A), G.S. provides in relevant part:

 

Nothing in the Freedom of Information Act shall be construed to require disclosure of … (3)  Records of law enforcement agencies not otherwise available to the public which records were compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of crime, if the disclosure of said records would not be in the public interest because it would result in the disclosure of (A) the identity of informants not otherwise known or the identity of witnesses not otherwise known whose safety would be endangered or who would be subject to threat or intimidation if their identity was made known[.]

 

10.     It is found that the respondent enforces city ordinances and applicable laws, including the Stamford health and housing codes.

 

11.     It is found that the respondent has certain criminal enforcement powers.

 

12.     It is found that the records at issue are part of a file of information compiled in connection with the respondent’s investigation into allegations of Code violations.

 

13.     It is found that the respondent acquired the information in its capacity as a law enforcement agency. 

 

14.     It is concluded that the respondent is a law enforcement agency and that the records at issue were compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of crime, within the meaning of 1-210(b)(3), G.S.  See, Christine L. Larsen v. Beth Vumbaco, Director, Department of Human Services, Health Division, City of Meriden; et al; Docket #FIC 1998-144; Barbara Grassi v. Board of Health, City of Middletown; Docket #FIC 1996-086; Margaret Catalano v. Middletown Department of Health; Docket #FIC 1991-125.

 

15.     It is found that, although the complainant in this matter suspects who filed a complaint about 460 Taconic Road with the health department, the identity of such person or persons is not otherwise known with certainty.

 

16.     It is also found, according to the facts and circumstances of this case, that disclosure of the informant(s) or witnesses in this matter would be subject to threat or intimidation if their identities were made known.

 

17.     It is found, therefore, that the identity of the complaining person at issue in this matter is permissively exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-210(b)(3)(A), G.S.

 

18.     Accordingly, it is concluded that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act under the facts of this case.

 

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 July 22, 2009.

 

 

 

________________________________

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:

 

Peter Rusciano

c/o Mark Dumas, Esq.

Crumbie Law Group, LLC

280 Trumbull Street, 21st Floor

Hartford, CT 06103

 

Health Department, City of Stamford

c/o Michael Toma, Esq.

City of Stamford Corporation Counsel

888 Washington Boulevard

Stamford, CT 06904

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2009-094FD/paj/7/27/2009