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 2010-381

Chief, Police Department,

City of Waterbury,

 
  Respondents April 13, 2011
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on October 28, 2010, at which time the complainants 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.      The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.      It is found that on June 3, 2010, and June 10, 2010, the complainants requested copies of records.

 

3.      It is found that on June 7, 2010, the respondents sent a letter to the complainants acknowledging their request.

 

4.      By letter filed on June 17, 2010, the complainants appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide the records they requested.   

 

5.      Section 1-200(5), G.S., 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.      Section 1-212(d), G.S., provides in relevant part:

The public agency shall waive any fee provided for in this section when:

            The person requesting the records is an indigent individual;

 

9.       It is concluded that the records requested by the complainant are public records within the meaning of 1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.

 

10.  It is found that on June 22, 2010, the respondents informed the complainants that they had gathered 255 pages of records that were responsive to the complainants’ requests.  The respondents told the complainants that upon receipt of the statutory fee of $122.50, the respondents would provide the records to the complainants.

 

11.   The respondents claimed they are indigent and that they have the right to copies of records without paying the statutory fee, pursuant to 1-212(d), G.S., which requires a public agency to waive any fee for copies of records when “[t]he person requesting the records is an indigent individual.” 

 

12.   It is found that only one of the two complainants, who are married to each other, provided an affidavit of indigency.  It is found that the other complainant, Anthony Lazzari, refused to provide such affidavit, contending that his wife’s affidavit, which was filed and accepted by the Superior Court for Juvenile Matters, was sufficient, and that because he was found to be indigent by the court and by other public agencies, the respondents must also consider him to be indigent.

 

13.   It is found that the complainant Kimberly Albright-Lazzari’s Application for Appointment of Counsel/Waiver of Fees does not include an affidavit of assets by the complainant Anthony Lazzari. 

 

14.   In addition, it is concluded that the determination of whether an individual qualifies for indigency status for the purpose of having fees waived by a particular public agency, is a determination which properly lies with the public agency having custody of the requested records.  Libby v. Sbona, Middletown Town Clerk and Chairman, Middletown High School Renovation Committee, Docket #FIC1993-354.

 

15.   It is found that it was not unreasonable for the respondents to require both complainants to provide financial affidavits.

 

16.   It is found that the complainant Anthony Lazzari failed to prove to the respondents that he is an indigent individual, within the meaning of 1-212(d), G.S.

 

17.   It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act by not providing copies of 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 complaint is hereby dismissed.

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 13, 2011.

 

__________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

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

 

Chief, Police Department, City of Waterbury and

Police Department, City of Waterbury

c/o Kevin J. Daly, Jr., Esq.

Corporation Counsel’s Office

236 Grand Street

Waterbury, CT  06702

 

 

____________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

 

FIC/2010-381/FD/cac/4/19/2011