Dewitt County

Attorney General Investigating DeWitt FOIA Denial –

SULLIVAN, IL. (ECWd) –

The Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor has determined that “further inquiry is warranted” in the request for review (complaint) I filed alleging denial of a public records request. Following an August DeWitt County Board Meeting where there was an obvious issue with a credit card, I submitted the following Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) Request to DeWitt County, Lars Dunn.

The FOIA Request

From: John Kraft [mailto:xxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 9:20 AM
To: ‘Lars Dunn’
Subject: FOIA Request (DeWitt) 8-27-2013

In accordance with the Illinois Freedom Of Information Act, I request the following.

1. Copy of all supporting documents related to this transaction:

CAPITOL ONE BANK PROB AUTO-CREDIT CARD PYMT $6282.99

By “all supporting documents”, I mean all receipts, memos, claims forms, credit card statements, etc.

—————–

Mr. Dunn responded with incomplete responses and unauthorized redactions.

On September 1, I requested the complete public records thru this email:

From: John Kraft [mailto:xxxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Sunday, September 01, 2013 8:09 AM
To: ‘Lars Dunn’
Cc: ‘Kirk Allen’
Subject: RE: FOIA Request (DeWitt) 8-27-2013

Mr. Dunn,

This FOIA request is incomplete for the following reasons:

1. I did not receive any receipts associated with the charges to the credit card.
2. Improper redactions were made and are inconsistent with 5 ILCS 140/7(1)(c) for:
a. Improper redaction of where the purchase on 30 July was made.
b. Improper redaction of the name, address, etc (mailing address) on the first page of the statement (it should list who the statement is sent to)

Redacting “Personal information” does not apply to public credit card purchases since “The disclosure of information that bears on the public duties of public employees and officials shall not be considered an invasion of personal privacy.”

This bears on his public duties.

Section 2.5 also applies in this situation since charging personal items on a public credit card falls under “use of public funds”.

“Sec. 2.5. Records of funds. All records relating to the obligation, receipt, and use of public funds of the State, units of local government, and school districts are public records subject to inspection and copying by the public.”

Please provide the complete, unredacted public records requested in this FOIA request.

———————————

Request For Review Filed with the AG

Without complete reponsive documents from the original FOIA request, I filed a complaint with the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor:

From: John Kraft [mailto:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Friday, September 13, 2013 6:34 AM
To: ‘PublicAccess@atg.state.il.us’; ‘Access, Public’
Subject: FOIA Request for Review (DeWitt County)

Office of the Attorney General,

I hereby submit this request for the Public Access Counselor to review a FOIA Request Denial.

Date FOIA Request sent to Public Body: August 27, 2013

Name of Public Body: DeWitt County

Emails of the original FOIA request and public body’s response are below.

Summary of facts:

On August 27, 2013, I submitted a FOIA request to FOIA Officer of DeWitt County, Assistant State’s Attorney Lars Dunn, requesting the following:

1. Copy of all supporting documents related to this transaction:

CAPITOL ONE BANK PROB AUTO-CREDIT CARD PYMT $6282.99

By “all supporting documents”, I mean all receipts, memos, claims forms, credit card statements, etc.

On August 30, 2013, he responded with part of the records requested and improper redactions.

On September 1, 2013, I responded to his partial denial with the following:

Mr. Dunn,

This FOIA request is incomplete for the following reasons:

1. I did not receive any receipts associated with the charges to the credit card.
2. Improper redactions were made and are inconsistent with 5 ILCS 140/7(1)(c) for:
a. Improper redaction of where the purchase on 30 July was made.
b. Improper redaction of the name, address, etc (mailing address) on the first page of the statement (it should list who the statement is sent to)

Redacting “Personal information” does not apply to public credit card purchases since “The disclosure of information that bears on the public duties of public employees and officials shall not be considered an invasion of personal privacy.”

This bears on his public duties.

Section 2.5 also applies in this situation since charging personal items on a public credit card falls under “use of public funds”.

“Sec. 2.5. Records of funds. All records relating to the obligation, receipt, and use of public funds of the State, units of local government, and school districts are public records subject to inspection and copying by the public.”

Please provide the complete, unredacted public records requested in this FOIA request.

As of today, September 13, 2013, no further communication related to this request has been had.

I believe this to be a partial denial of my FOIA request for the following reason(s):

Improper denial for item numbers 1 and 4

– Improper redactions – FOIA permits redaction of “personal information”, but what was redacted is the name and mailing address of the person receiving the credit card bill. I believe that person to be a Probation Officer and the mailing address to be that of the DeWitt County Probation Office (as stated during a public meeting).
– Improper denial of receipts for purchases – Receipts were not provided as requested. Redaction of a “personal” purchase.
– Improper denial of copy of the approval of the Circuit Court Judge approving the expenditures as required by statute.
– Improper denial of a copy of the claim form

Thanks for your prompt consideration in this matter.

The original FOIA request and all communication related to it are below.
——————————

Responding To AG’s Inquiry

The Attorney General determined that further review was necessary in this complaint and directed Mr. Dunn to reply to the allegations, which he did reply to. Following his reply, I am allowed the opportunity to respond to his reply to the AG and state my case as to why I believe the records should be produced. Below is my letter to the AG that includes my response to Mr. Dunn:
[gview file=http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/2013PAC26053response2dewitt.pdf]

 

It has now been two months since I had any communications with the AGs office and I would hope that a resolution is forthcoming in the very near future. I cannot predict what the outcome will be, but I would hope it is my favor. We will update this as soon as the AG renders an opinion on it.

 

 

Categories: Dewitt County, feature

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