WATSEKA, IL. (ECWd) –
So here we are, just posting public records we get through the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), and along comes an attorney that thinks he is the “all knowing”. For the record, I do not harbor any resentment toward attorneys, I believed they perform a much needed service. I just think that some of them need to read before sending out demands where they have absolutely no standing………again!
Such is the case with Mr. Ron Boyer, from Watseka, IL., and since he refuses to state who he is representing, we cannot state as fact that Doug Corbett is the one on whose behalf the letter was sent. What should have been a simple request, and a simple response from us granting said request, has instead become a point of contention between Ron and I. This was his first piece of brilliant work from back in March of this year. At least he is consistent.
In his most recent letter dated September 27, 2013, Mr. Boyer “Ron” sent us a letter demanding that we take an entire post down because he believed there was some private information of Corbett’s posted. But that’s not all, he also accused us of “irresponsibly” revealing the personal information (and other personal information), and that the post was one of many “libelous writings” that we had “recklessly made” about Corbett.
Now I may be missing something but for an attorney to tell a documented journalist to remove an entire post may well be stepping on our First Amendment rights! More on that in another article!
“Our Response To Letter”
We responded via email on September 30, 2013 with this:
I am in receipt of your letter dated September 27th, 2013.
I will not, at this time, change anything that we have published, based on the accusations contained in that letter.
As you know, or should know, we are under no obligation to redact anything obtained from a public body through FOIA. We will, however, be glad to remove Mr. Corbett’s SSN from said document provided that we receive a request to do so, without the accusations of “irresponsibly revealed”, “other personal information”, “one of many libelous writings”, “recklessly made”, “offending disclosure”, or any demand to take down the entire post.
Also, please advise us on whose behalf you wrote the letter. Is Mr. Corbett a client of yours?
Can you please elaborate on who “we” is?
Upon the receipt of a letter asking that the SSN be redacted from the public document it is on, without all of the other accusations, we will gladly comply with your request. Until then, any action on our part would certainly be construed as agreeing with whatever was written in the letter dated September 27, 2013.
I await your response.
In the interest of cooperation, I sent an email asking that his demand letter be re-worded so as to not give the impression that we agreed with the terminology used in said letter.
Thinking we would get a reply without all of the accusations and libelous claims, we were quite surprised when we received this response via email today:
“Boyer’s Response To Our Email”
From: Ronald E. Boyer
Sent: Thursday, October 03, 2013 3:19 PM
To: John Kraft
Cc: Kirk Allen
Subject: Re: Letter
Please look at 5 ILCS 179/10(a) which says “…no person…may do any of the following: (1) Publically post or publicly display in any manner an individual’s social security number.” 5 ILCS 179/50 provides that what you are doing is a class B misdemeanor.
This post must be removed immediately. If any identity theft occurs because of this irresponsible posting, you will held responsible for all damages suffered by Mr. Corbett. Now stop playing games.
The statute that he accused us of violating is the Identity Protection Act, and stating the claim that it applied to us, and even going so far as to state that we were committing a class B misdemeanor and telling us to quit playing games…HOGWASH!
The Identity Protect Act applies to public bodies and their employees/officers – NOT to people that receive their information thru FOIA requests. Instead of rehashing what I responded with, I will post the response to his offensive, incorrect response to our initial request for clarification:
From: John Kraft
Sent: Thursday, October 03, 2013 9:38 PM
To: Ron Boyer
I would think that a person of your supposed intelligence could read and comprehend any email I sent requesting clarification(s).
I will try and re-state what my original email asked:
- Who is your client? Whom do you represent? On whose behalf did you send the letter dated September 27, 2013?
- Would you please send a request to remove what you believe should not be shown, without including all of the accusations and demands of removing the entire post?
Additionally, I will remind you that you have taken 5 ILCS 179/10(a) out of context. Surely a brilliant legal mind such as yours should be able to first define the term “person” as it relates to the Identity Protection Act.
Just to put both of us on the same sheet of music, I will copy and paste that definition for you to read:
(7 ILCS 179/5) Definitions. In this Act:
"Person" means any individual in the employ of a State agency or local government agency.
Since I am not in the employ of a State agency or local government agency as it relates to the posted information, the term “person” does not apply to me in relation to this Act.
(5 ILCS 179/50) was also taken out of context by you. Did you even read it before hitting the “send” button for your email? Paragraph 50 is specifically for “Home Rule” public bodies, which I am not.
Finally, I am asking that you formulate a response, asking that the specific information be redacted from whatever document or post it is displayed. This can be accomplished without accusations of “irresponsible posting”, stating I am committing a “class B misdemeanor” when I am not, and without insinuating that I am “playing games”. I assure you that I am not playing games, and I firmly believe that should I remove what you desire, without clarifications, that it could be construed as agreeing with the remaining portions of your emails and/or letters.
Please respond appropriately, and you will receive appropriate action.
Thanks for your cooperation in this matter,
So there you have it….for now.
I have asked again for an appropriate response from him…we will see.