FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

Kimberly Albright-Lazzari and

Anthony Lazzari, 

 
  Complainants  
  against   Docket # FIC 2009-005

Commissioner, State of Connecticut,

Department of Revenue Services;

and State of Connecticut, Department

of Revenue Services,

 
  Respondents September 9, 2009
       

 

             This matter was scheduled to be heard as a contested case on April 28, 2009.  On April 9, 2009, the respondents moved to dismiss the matter without a hearing pursuant to 1-206(b)(4), G.S.  The complainants filed an objection to the motion on April 13, 2009.

           

            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 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.  By letter of complaint filed January 2, 2009, the complainants appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents denied their request for certain records.  The complainants had requested “the name of the owner(s) of … Walid Subway, LLC – 844 North Colony Road, Wallingford… and M.N.K. Subway, LLC – 1046 North Colony Road, Wallingford.”  The complainants had also requested all records related to the ownership of the two businesses.  The complainants further requested records relating to the transfer or selling of the two businesses, which the complainants stated was owned by Mohammed Koshar.  The complainants provided tax identification numbers for the two businesses. 

 

3.  Section 1-206(b)(4), G.S., provides that:

 

“[n]otwithstanding any provision of this subsection to the contrary, in the case of an appeal to the commission of a denial by a public agency, the commission may, upon motion of such agency, confirm the action of the agency and dismiss the appeal without a hearing if it finds, after examining the notice of appeal and construing all allegations most favorably to the appellant, that (A) the agency has not violated the Freedom of Information Act, or (B) the agency has committed a technical violation of the Freedom of Information Act that constitutes a harmless error that does not infringe the appellant’s rights under said act.

 

4.  Section 1-200(5), G.S., provides:

 

“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, or to which a public agency is entitled to receive a copy by law or contract under section 1-218, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.

 

5.   Section 1-210(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, 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 (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours, (2) copy such records in accordance with subsection (g) of section 1-212, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212. 

 

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

           

7.  The respondents contend that the requested records constitute return information as defined in 12-15, G.S., and that the Department is prohibited from disclosing such records by such statute. 

 

8.  The complainants contend that they do not seek return information, per se, but merely seek to verify that Mohammed Koshar is the current owner of the Subway stores described in paragraph 2, above.  The complainants further contend that release of such information will in no way harm Mr. Koshar.

 

9.  Section 12-15(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:

 

[n]o officer or employee, including any former officer or former employee, of the state or of any other person who has or had access to returns or return information in accordance with subdivision (12) of subsection (b) of this section shall disclose or inspect any return or return information….

 

10.  Section 12-15(h)(2), G.S., provides in relevant part:

 

“[r]eturn information” means … a taxpayer's identity, the nature, source, or amount of the taxpayer's income, payments, receipts, deductions, exemptions, credits, assets, liabilities, net worth, tax liability, tax collected or withheld, tax underreportings, tax overreportings, or tax payments, whether the taxpayer's return was, is being, or will be examined or subjected to other investigation or processing, or any other data received by, recorded by, prepared by, furnished to, or collected by the commissioner with respect to a return or with respect to the determination of the existence, or possible existence, of liability of any person for any tax, penalty, interest, fine, forfeiture, or other imposition, or offense. "Return information" does not include data in a form which cannot be associated with, or otherwise identify, directly or indirectly, a particular taxpayer.

 

(Emphasis added.)

 

11.  After examining the complaint and pleadings in this matter and construing all allegations most favorably to the complainants, it is found that the requested records constitute “return information,” within the meaning of 12-15(h)(2), G.S. 

           

12.  It is concluded that 12-15(a), G.S., prohibits the respondents from disclosing such records to the complainants.

  

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

 

1.  The action of the respondents is confirmed, and the complaint is dismissed without a hearing pursuant to 1-206(b)(4)(A), G.S. 

 

                                                                                   

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of September 9, 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:

 

Kimberly Albright-Lazzari and

Anthony Lazzari

132 Rock Creek Road

New Haven, CT 06515

 

Commissioner, State of Connecticut,

Department of Revenue Services;

and State of Connecticut, Department

of Revenue Services

c/o Heather J. Wilson, Esq.

Assistant Attorney General

55 Elm Street

PO Box 120

Hartford, CT 06141-0120

 

 

 

____________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

 

FIC/2009-005FD/paj/9/11/2009