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Update on AG Investigation into Arcola Township 2013-PAC-25511 –

June 13, 2014   ·   25 Comments

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ARCOLA, IL. (ECWd) –

This is an update on this request for review (here) (2013 PAC 25511) and I believe it is the only remaining FOIA request for review with Arcola Township left with the Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor. I have closed the other ones out in order to file civil suits in Douglas County Court ( 13-Mr-53, 14-MR-16, 14-MR-17, and 14-Mr-20).

There will be another civil suit filed Monday morning, June 16, 2014, for their alleged failure to answer yet another simple request for public records dating back to June 1, 2014.

In January of this year, the PAC asked Mr. Petty to respond again to the allegations that Arcola Township failed to provide the public records requested, and I had a chance to respond to his response.

Both are below:

Attorney General’s Second Round of Questions – AND –  Petty’s response to the AG:

Download (PDF, 325KB)

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My response to Petty’s response:

Read my claim on vacation days carefully in order to grasp its full meaning…

From: John Kraft [mailto:john@heirloomvideography.net]
Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2014 11:40 PM
To: ‘Hartman, Matthew’
Subject: re: 2013 PAC 25511 (Arcola Township)

February 2, 2014

Mr. Matt Hartman
Assistant Attorney General
Public Access Bureau
500 South Second Street
Springfield, Illinois 62706
Re: FOIA Request for Review – 2013 PAC 25511

Mr. Hartman,

I am writing this in response to Mr. Petty’s letter dated January 17, 2014 and forwarded to my on January 27, 2014.

Section 2(c) of the FOIA [5 ILCS 140/2(c)] defines “Public records” as:

Public records” means all records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, microfilms, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, electronic communications, recorded information and all other documentary materials pertaining to the transaction of public business, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared by or for, or having been or being used by, received by, in the possession of, or under the control of any public body.

Section 2.5 of the FOIA [5 ILCS 140/2.5] provides that: “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.”

Section 3(a) of the FOIA [5 ILCS 140/3(a)] states in part: “a public body may not grant to any person or entity, whether by contract, license, or otherwise, the exclusive right to access and disseminate any public record as defined in this Act”.

Section 7 (2) states “A public record that is not in the possession of a public body but is in the possession of a party with whom the agency has contracted to perform a governmental function on behalf of the public body, and that directly relates to the governmental function and is not otherwise exempt under this act, shall be considered a public record of the public body for the purposes of this act”. The requested records; a) Meet the definition of “public records” as defined in Section 2 (c) of the Act, and, b) The requested records are “records of funds” generally, and in particular relate to the use of public funds as explained in Section 2.5 of the Act.

For the purposes of the credit card receipts:

Credit card receipts are public records as defined in the Act, They are also records relating to the use of public funds. If the Township chose not to keep copies of the receipts, the can simply go to the credit card company and get copies from them. Additionally, the Township, by its failure to obtain the records from third parties, has granted those third parties the exclusive right to access and disseminate public records. Since they have produced no “Applications for Authority to Dispose of Local Records” or “Record Disposal Certificates” for these particular public records, they must have chosen to allow the credit card companies to store these records on behalf of the Township.

The Attorney General has recently determined, in 2011 PAC 17699, that public records not kept in the possession of a public body, but with a 3rd party (cell phone company) were considered public records of the public body, and directed the public body to contact the cell phone company and obtain those requested records.

For the purposes of the vacation days:

As far as the vacation days only being verbal approval, I will state the mental records fall under the definition of Public Records as “having been used by” and “in the possession of” and “under the control of” a public body since Section 2(c) specifically states “regardless of the physical form or characteristics”. They are also records pertaining to the use of public funds.

Section 6 of the Act states that: “When a person requests a copy of a record maintained in an electronic format, the public body shall furnish it in the electronic format specified by the requester, if feasible. If it is not feasible to furnish the public records in the specified electronic format, then the public body shall furnish it in the format in which it is maintained by the public body, or in paper format at the option of the requester.

Now, since the records cannot be produced in an electronic format, and they obviously cannot be produced in the format in which they are maintained by the public body, I am hereby exercising my option, according to Section 6 of the Act, that the requested public records be produced in paper format.

Attorney General Opinion 12-014 addressed the issue of putting records in a different format and determined it would not be considered “creation of a new record”. I am not requesting records they don’t normally keep; I am simply asking they be provided in a paper format.

For the purposes of the last paragraph of his letter:

Whether or not I filed a lawsuit to enforce my right to access public records, for FOIA denials not related to this request for review, is immaterial. However, I will note what Mr. Petty failed to note, and that is the first lawsuit was dismissed only because the paperwork was served improperly, not because of any defect in the pleadings.

Thanks for your consideration,

John Kraft

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Readers Comments (25)

  1. Amazing Place says:

    jmkraft,what’s going on with the 21 day responce?Is Petty stalling again?

     Reply
    • jmkraft says:

      His “answer or otherwise further pleading” for this case was probably the Motion to Consolidate that I objected to with the other cases.

       Reply
  2. Big n Bowdre says:

    D.W.maybe Deana is on another Harley trip,just like the one you guys paid for last year.

     Reply
  3. Dog Walker says:

    Why is the Township Office closed?I know she is only part time,but come on,what are we getting for our $100.000.00?

     Reply
    • jmkraft says:

      How can you get some comfort in the “Comfort Station” LOL. You can’t, it’s an abuse of the comfort station statute and the tax money generated by the comfort station. Each property owner should file a tax objection on that tax.

       Reply
  4. Trojan Horse says:

    RR, exactly my point. Whenever any of the Township supporters pop their heads up they blame everyone else for the Townships short comings. Also when they are asked a simple question they hide under a rock.

     Reply
  5. Richey Rich says:

    WSW, I think what they are saying is that you need to stay on topic. Because you say there are other post about idiotic things makes your post valid? What the City does is not relevant to the Township not complying to the FOIA’s requested. A question to you: are you agreeing with the Township not answering complete FOIA request, or not at all? It is a simple yes or no.

     Reply
  6. gone too far says:

    Who said what, pretty sure most everything you said is incorrect. One thing you did prove, is that the city administrator makes way less than the part-time township Secretary.

     Reply
  7. Who said what says:

    Because I called someone else out ? Read other articles there pal. Wasteful spending on township behalf is fine to ridicule. Say one thing about the city and you lose your mind. This ALL falls back on the caucus and a few people not getting their way. That is the truth. Assuming I’m up the clerks a$$. Is exactly that an assumption. If someone needs to step back and look at what is going on is you.

     Reply
  8. Trojan Horse says:

    Who said what, you post does not even warrant a response. But I have to anyway. You are an idiot. This is about the Township not answering FOIA request. Are you that up the clerks butt not to see what this is causing? Did I mention you are an idiot.

     Reply
  9. Who said what says:

    Unhappy you should look at city hall for wasted tax money. Mr. Wags making 60k+ in wages. Another 2000+ in health insurance per month. 5 weeks paid vacation per year. For what? What good comes from this glutton sitting in his office researching the latest modification he can buy for his race car? With 2 employees retiring I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t absorb some of their salary as well. We’ve seen the intelligence of our city council, what Billy wants Billy gets, don’t question him. Rexy knows how to play the game. Gets money to build what’s now the arcola center, then sells it back to the city. Get more money to build another place. All with your and my contribution to tif. Let’s not forget the land he sold to lindenmeyers for a pretty pretty inflated amount. Then we gave them 300k for poor business practices. Let your dilapidated building be condemned and taxpayers will save you. Now we are stuck with that eye sore on main street. Never fear people, I’m sure our money will pay for that to be demolished as well. How about using some of that tif for good use like fixing the drainage problems south of Robin lane. Or have we exhausted that money paying the official mayoral highway on north locust.

     Reply
  10. Unhappy Taxpayer says:

    Tax Refund,are you ok with paying a part time secretary $100.000.00 in wages,benefits,vacation,and Gas Cards?You want a refund,I want a recall of this Township Board paying attorney fees for not answering FOIA’s.

     Reply
  11. who are you kidding says:

    Tax refund, this has what to do with township FOIAs?

     Reply
    • jmkraft says:

      I just guessing here, but the twp levies for taxes for their general fund, of which they are freely and gleefully spending it on an attorney.

       Reply
  12. Tax Refund says:

    I’d like to know if it would be possible to get some of my wasted tax money back? I heard that Rex is selling his business that was built with some of my tax money. I figured the amount of money Rex has received since TIF started, he has gotten over 500 dollars from every homeowner in Arcola to build his business. I think it is only fair now that he has sold his business, that he should give me my money back. I don’t thinks it right for him to pocket all of our money. Do you think this ok Bill or Larry?

     Reply
  13. Captain Obvious says:

    Obviously there’s more to it,and kidding is probably right.If it isn’t family why are they fighting so hard?The Board needs to get off their duff and clean this mess up!

     Reply
  14. who are you kidding says:

    I think, if they ever get receipts they will see her entire family was using township gas cards. Once again, the gas card was never a compensation. Maybe they made it that in 2013, when they found out about it.

     Reply
  15. Not Again says:

    Another week and another lawsuit against the township.Why must the taxpayers pay to defend them?We didn’t do anything wrong.

     Reply
  16. Really says:

    now they are claiming they are Deenas credit cards and they are only paying for her gas expense. $6000.00 gas for those credit cards, where does this girl go for the township or we might ask how far WOULD she go?

     Reply
  17. Lake Lady says:

    We should be so proud that the people of Arcola Township are once again in the Arcola Record-Herald,on the Douglas Co. Courthouse News page.Is this going to be a weekly habit?This duly elected Board is being sued again,all because not answering FOIA’s.How much more money is Bill,Mark,and Deana going to spend fighting a losing battle?Until the Township is broke?

     Reply
  18. Richey Rich says:

    Looks like Petty is making another stance for a big stall. It may be ok to consolidate the other suits pending, but not 2013MR53.

     Reply
  19. Letters 2 the Editor says:

    Fari Bell and Don among others,do you guys remember blindly supporting those at the Township before the election?With the 6th lawsuit pending what do you say now?

     Reply
  20. who are you kidding says:

    I don’t believe there was a compensation agreement to pay for her gas. That was an “under the table” agreement between her and Nacke. Ask some of the old board members. They knew nothing about it. Foia for that agreement in the minutes.

     Reply
  21. Unhappy Taxpayer says:

    That’s just great! The taxpayers of Arcola Township,because of need to hide wrong doing, are going to have to pay legal bills to fight another lawsuit. What a pathetic group of elected officials, thanks for nothing.

     Reply
    • jmkraft says:

      Yeah, that will be number 5.

      Number 6 will be filed soon too (maybe even next week).

       Reply




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