Chicago, IL. (ECWd) –
For the past couple of months several people have attempted to gain access to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s records as it relates to bills payable and due to the City of Chicago.
In this most recent request, which was forwarded to me this afternoon, Adam Andrzejewski was attempting to get copies of those records and it has become apparent by now that this is nothing more than an attempt at keeping those records from the public – at least until after the election. First they claim they didn’t understand the original FOIA request, then when it is further explained they treat it as a new request that basically restarts the five day response time. Next they ask for an extension with the promise that a response would be received by April 6th at the latest. That date has come and gone.
Finally, the FOIA Officer, Mr. Carl Gutierrez (Carl.Gutierrez@cityofchicago.org) just simply ignores the emails sent to him.
I had requested these records a few months ago, and the same FOIA Officer responded after the mandatory five day response time, and told me over the phone that he would treat it as “unduly burdensome”. I asked him to confirm that in writing over email, but when the email arrived it stated that there were no responsive records – probably because he found out the city cannot claim unduly burdensome after the violate the mandated response time.
So now we have two instances of the City of Chicago FOIA Officer lying to the public about public records – AND we suspect the real bottom line as to why, is that he might be “in arrears of a debt to the municipality” which would violate the Illinois Municipal Code and disqualify him from office. But we have no way to verify that since the city will not produce the records.
It might be time to file a civil suit to obtain the requested records – because we know they have them, and we know they are public records.