DeKalb County

NIU demands return of FOIA documents –

DeKalb, IL. (ECWd) –

Northern Illinois University sent an email to a FOIA requester notifying him that he was in possession of Attorney-Client privileged information that was provided to him via a recent FOIA request, and demanded he returns it, destroy his copies, and notify anyone else that may have received it that they were to do the same.

We decline their invitation to not use the information provided under FOIA.

Read NIU’s demand here:

“…you have brought to the attention of the University that you are in possession of privileged communications between University officials and retained outside counsel for the University (namely, Chapman & Cutler).  In its preliminary review of this situation, the University believes that these privileged materials were inadvertently released to you pursuant to a FOIA request.  The University is providing you with express notice that it has not waived any defenses, privileges, or rights under applicable law in relation to these documents, and that you are not authorized to retain or further disseminate such privileged materials to others.  The University requests that you promptly return any and all copies of such communications with Chapman & Cutler and that you not retain or use any further copies of the records, or the information contained in the records, in any form or format at all.  If you have further disclosed these records and/or the information contained within the records, NIU requests that you retrieve those disclosed materials and inform those individuals that they are similarly not authorized to retain or use those records, or the information contained within.  Thank you for your cooperation.”

We located what we believe they were talking about, and it concerned NIU’s use of Bond proceeds.

That email is provided below (click to enlarge):

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Categories: DeKalb County, feature, NIU

5 replies »

  1. I’d be a little more direct in my response. Fat chance dummies…nothing in the FOIA law requires the return of lawfully requested & received items.

  2. NIU board members, not its president, are charged with determining the direction of the University’s future. The idea that a new president will be arriving is, at most, a short term excuse for not spending the bond money within the required period. The inaction of the board indicates that the bond was not needed in the first place. Floating a bond without having targeted a usage for the fund is just reaching out to grab more money to put into a reserve. The reason that bonds pay interest to bond holders is so that the recipient of the bond funds doesn’t just take the money and reserve it for later use.

  3. “The University is providing you with express notice that it has not waived any defenses, privileges, or rights under applicable law in relation to these documents, and that you are not authorized to retain or further disseminate such privileged materials to others.  The University requests that you promptly return any and all copies of such communications with Chapman & Cutler and that you not retain or use any further copies of the records, or the information contained in the records, in any form or format at all.”

    And the proper response to “the lawyers” is:

    This FOIA requester is providing you with express notice that he, his heirs, administrators and assigns has not waived, and does does not waive, any defenses, privileges, or rights under applicable law in relation to these documents, and that you are not authorized under law to demand the return of, and/or prohibit the dissemination of, lawfully received FOIA documents. The FOIA requester demands that you promptly cease and desist any and all unlawful demands and/or actions for the return of these lawfully obtained documents and advises that the documents may be lawfully used for lawful purposes in the future consistent with the law.
        

  4. Their request makes no sense – it was how a public body was using the bonds. Either the University is feeling guilty about something, wants to spend money on more lawyers or some administrator just has too much time on their hands 🙂

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