Cook County

Orland Park Library pays $55,000 to settle FOIA/Open Meetings lawsuits –

Orland Park, IL. (ECWd) –

The Orland Park Public Library Board of Trustees has approved a settlement of $55,000.00 to dispose of Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act lawsuits.

In this settlement, the Library admitted no wrongdoing (even though they were wrong, but this is a typical settlement), however, during the course of, and in response to, the lawsuits the library has amended their public speaking policy and produced previously withheld public records.

If you read our previous articles, this suit is essentially the result of actions by the Board after it was discovered that child pornography had been viewed in the library, and the employee(s) did nothing to report the incident in a timely manner to the Police Department. The Board even denied it happened, at least until a written record of the event was produced in a public records request. A board member finally did admit that child pornography was viewed in the library, but they still refused to provide for filtering of internet access to prevent illegal content from being viewed on library computers.

This Board tried all kinds of tactics to prevent public records access and to prevent public comments at its meetings, to include holding an illegal special meeting on a public holiday. A timeline of events thru June 2014 is here and includes harassment by the library attorney, multiple inaccurate calls to local police, and civil rights violations.

While critics of filtering complain about their first amendment right to “data access”, the Supreme Court has already determined that there is no right to access pornography or child pornography in any public building, including libraries. The facts are that libraries are within their legal rights to filter access to this “data”, as librarians have been instructed to call it.

At the 20 minute mark in the below video is where the Board discusses and votes for the settlement.

Other news agencies that reported on this settlement: Chicago Tribune

4 replies »

  1. I had no idea that a person could get a cash settlement for a foia or oma suit. I thought it was limited to fine amounts set by statute.

    • Attorney fees and:
      5 ILCS 140/11 (j) If the court determines that a public body willfully and intentionally failed to comply with this Act, or otherwise acted in bad faith, the court shall also impose upon the public body a civil penalty of not less than $2,500 nor more than $5,000 for each occurrence.

  2. Peter Breen (author/sponsor) and Chad Hayes (co-sponsor) are helping by putting forward a new proposed Illinois state legislation (HB #2689) which will clarify some things. Because of these two state representatives, and hopefully many others who join them, libraries will truly be safe havens where children can learn and grow without exposure to unfiltered “adult content” internet viewing which is connected to the ongoing issues at the Orland Park Public Library.
    Orland Park is indebted to Megan Fox and Kevin Dujan. These two people have the strength and wits to overcome terrible personal attacks. Their donation of time and risk of financial loss is a model everyone should follow. They believed in themselves and somehow knew success would follow as long as they did not give up.
    Megan and Kevin: Even though I have never met you, and even though me or my family will probably never set foot inside the Orland Park library, please let me say, “THANK YOU!” on behalf of all the families who will likely never know how much you improved their library and community.
    All other readers: Please encourage your representatives to support and/or co-sponsor HB #2689.

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