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July 21, 2024

Arcola Twp: FOIA Requests Are “Tantamount To Harassment” –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On September 7, 2013


The amount of resistance to transparency, yes I used that “ridiculous” (according to Arcola Twp Atty) word, in Arcola Township is beyond anything I have come across recently. Apparently, according to their attorney, ArcolaTownship has “expended large amount of township time and money” replying to me.

If they would just reply to FOIA requests by providing the requested public records, the time and money would be significantly reduced. We all know it is more expensive to hide from requests then to simply provide what was requested.

Why would the township need to send responses to the attorney? Because the expense is not coming out of their pockets…it’s your money and they couldn’t give a damn how they spend it. In the past two years, we have learned that public bodies going this route do so simply to rack up the cost, so they can try and garner public support in their favor by claiming we are “wasting” money and costing the taxpayer a lot of money. They could simply reply, but instead insist on paying an attorney – because they can.

Below is a followup on the Township’s response to my AG request for review of the July 30 FOIA request that had not been responded to at the time I submitted the RfR to the AG.

“Prepared The Response”

So they claim to have “prepared the response” within the statutory period. I cannot find that phrase anywhere in the FOIA Act. It does say they shall respond within the statutory period, but I guess Arcola Twp thinks simply preparing the response was good enough and forgot to send it. I wonder how much their attorney billed them for that one…

Claiming “Numerous” Requests

“[Mr. Kraft] has sent us numerous requests”:

If you count six requests in four months as “numerous”, you might be correct, but what does the FOIA Act consider “numerous” or a “recurrent requestor”?

It is found in paragraph 2(g), which states:

<i>(g) "Recurrent requester", as used in Section 3.2 of this Act, means a person that, in the <span style="text-decoration: underline;">12 months immediately preceding the request</span>, has submitted to the same public body (i) a <span style="text-decoration: underline;">minimum of 50 requests</span> for records, (ii) a minimum of <span style="text-decoration: underline;">15 requests for records within a 30-day period</span>, or (iii) a minimum of <span style="text-decoration: underline;">7 requests for records within a 7-day period</span>. For purposes of this definition, requests made by news media and non-profit, scientific, or academic organizations shall not be considered in calculating the number of requests made in the time periods in this definition when the principal purpose of the requests is (i) to access and disseminate information concerning news and current or passing events, (ii) for articles of opinion or features of interest to the public, or (iii) for the purpose of academic, scientific, or public research or education.</i>

So ILLINOIS LAW says 50 request in 12 months, 15 requests in 30 days, or 7 requests in 7 days – but I guess 6 requests in 4 months is close enough for Arcola Township…do these people even bother to read?

By the way, we fall under the definition of “News Media” according to paragraph 2(f) of FOIA, AND we write articles following the lines of i and ii of the above paragraph, so “recurrent” or “numerous” does not apply! Imagine that…

The FOIAs sent by me to Arcola Township total six in number – the first one being on April 23, 2013 at 9:58 a.m.:

1.   Apr 23, 2013
2.   Apr 23, 2013
3.   Jun 21, 2013
4.   Jun 30, 2013
5.   Aug 9, 2013
6.   Aug 9, 2013

“Tantamount to Harassment” 

Wow, can a public body get anymore arrogant than that?

First, I would have to say that there is no provision in the FOIA Act that authorizes a public body to declare a FOIA request as “tantamount to harassment”. I can see where they are coming from though…who do we think we are asking for receipts from a Harley trip charged to a Township Credit Card…what business is it of ours if they declare the Township Road Commissioner a “First Responder” in order to let him drive the township truck all over the place…how dare we ask for anything proving his status as a “First Responder”…ArcolaTownship just redefined that phrase.

“So You Will Know All The Facts About Mr. Kraft”

Did they really go out of their way to try and prove to the Attorney General’s Office that I am a bad person because I requested a few public records? What kind of freaking idiots do these things? What are they so afraid of?

Why would they need to send a copy of the lawsuit, as irrelevant as it is to this request for review? Are they trying to garner “sympathy” points because they know they were wrong?

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  • Lake Lady
    Posted at 18:37h, 07 September Reply

    Mr. Kraft in there eyes yes,you are the problem.Remember now they have never been questioned before in the past.ECWD have questioned the almighty and they don’t like it .You guys are not going away and this is new to them,something to worry about.I along with others are looking foward to the day they explain to the taxpayers just exactly why they spent and acted as they did.

  • Angela Mason
    Posted at 18:47h, 07 September Reply

    Angela Mason liked this on Facebook.

  • Kirk Allen
    Posted at 20:32h, 07 September Reply

    Kirk Allen liked this on Facebook.

  • Darlene Justice
    Posted at 20:32h, 07 September Reply

    Darlene Justice liked this on Facebook.

  • Blake Stiff
    Posted at 20:32h, 07 September Reply

    Blake Stiff liked this on Facebook.

  • Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov
    Posted at 22:16h, 07 September Reply

    Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov liked this on Facebook.

  • Arcola Lola
    Posted at 23:46h, 07 September Reply

    I can’t wait for the day that Deana has to pull her hand out of her puppet’s butts and they are all sitting in individual jail cells. The fact that they are so arrogant that they think that they are above questioning is amazing! Watchdogs, you have my support 1000000%!!!! Go get them and hold them accountable for everything that they have been getting away with for so long!

  • Coles County Corruption
    Posted at 01:33h, 08 September Reply

    Coles County Corruption liked this on Facebook.

  • WTH
    Posted at 08:20h, 08 September Reply

    OMG they have a lot to answer to. Just how much gas did we pay for for her and her family? With her “invaluable knowledge” (they say she has) I’m sure she knows using taxpayer money for personal gain is against the law. They need to come up with other Townships of our size and budget that has a person in her position. THERE IS NONE. talk to any of the past and present Trustees and ask if they knew she had gas card. She hid this in bills very well. They reward her of being good at that by giving her a $4,600 raise. She said state law had changed for caucus and then admitted it hadnt. The Supervisor, Clerk, Trustees and Fire District board need to step up, do their jobs (that she is doing for them) and get her out of there.

  • Watchn from Bowdre
    Posted at 11:43h, 08 September Reply

    WTH,agreed.We have been saying all along it goes back to her desk.It’s starting to look like we knew what we were doing over here in Bowdre,does’nt it.Seems like most all know what the problem is,except for the Arcola Township Board!What a pity.

  • Shadow Puppet
    Posted at 14:34h, 08 September Reply

    WTH you took the words right out of my mouth. Lets have a pity party for the little township. They only have one secretary to do all that work!! Maybe she needs another road trip to unwind. I challenge anyone to find a township of that size with an all in one, secretary, office manager, dept Clerk. (yes she has those titles) Let me save you the trouble. There aren’t any! The Supervisor, Clerk and Trustees are supposed to do that work & they are paid to do it. It seems as though they are working harder and spending taxpayer’s money just to hide their wrongdoings. Isn’t this about FOIA omission? You can see a copy of Mr. Petty’s letter also went to the Secretary not to the Clerk. So folks it’s very clear who is running that place. Then she has to have buzzer door lock with security a camera. Now that is a load of BS and a real waste of money. Township Board Wake the hell up.

  • opengovva
    Posted at 06:14h, 09 September Reply

    Arcola Township: #FOIA Requests Are “Tantamount To Harassment” #toomuchFOIA

  • JW Daggott
    Posted at 15:23h, 09 September Reply

    Your hearing date was delayed because they said the attorney was going to have surgery. Amazing recovery just in time for Your Broom corn festival. Wonder how much that delay cost our taxpayers. Bill Coombe are you trying to drag this into your farming season so you could you use some of your crop money to pay the attorney. I am sure if it is your money they will they will get there receipts they are asking for sooner. Thanks for your attention to this matter.

  • Registered Voter
    Posted at 15:32h, 09 September Reply

    Beiow is the unpublished hours for the Arcola Township Comfort Station during the Arcola Broomcorn Festival:
    Sept.5 Thur. Open 2 hrs.
    Sept.6 Fri. Closed
    Sept.7 Sat. Closed
    Sept.8 Sun. Closed
    I know this is a limited schedule,but one must remember,this account only has $80,000.00 in it.Makes you wonder what the “Comfort” in Comfort Station stands for.Is it for a tourist visting our town to take a break from the heat and rest,or a “Comfortable”place to stash your tax dollar.The next time you see an elected Township Offical tell them thanks!

  • Mike
    Posted at 15:36h, 09 September Reply

    Another glaring violation of the rules. Vehicle repair for township equipment. Should that not be bid out with other Service garages in town? Dale Knowles Automotive sets on the board of trustees for the Arcola township. Does it seem a little odd that 2 other mechanics in town would probably like a chance at some work since they also pay into the tax base off the town. Hope this is just an oversight and we could correct that rather Quickly. Or is this just another one of those things they think they can do because this is theirs. Maybe ECWD’s could check into those records also. Hope they are not paying the secretaries oil changes too. Surely Dale Knowles keeps his receipts for that and he could furnish those rather easily

  • Aware n Arcola
    Posted at 08:47h, 10 September Reply

    Jack or Jackie,what ever your name is,R Voter got me to thinking about something you posted before.Do you remember back about 3 weeks ago on the FOIA Suit Update site,the question came up about the Twp.being closed during Broomcorn Festival?You said fact”:The Township office is used every year by the veterans for a bake sale of some sort during broomcorn”.Now I remembered that and at the time it sounded a little far fetched to me,you see I know alot of veterans but not many wearing aprons.I never heard of any bake sale by them at broomcorn either.Now I saw some of them over the weekend and asked about the bake sale,they said;”Never done it,never will”.Jack you claim not to be on the insiders list with the Twp. board,I find that harder and harder to believe.More smoke and mirrows,lies and misinformation.It’s not just the ECWD that are watching and taking notes.Try as you guys might to discredit them,their reputation keeps growing and their accomplishments getting bigger and bigger.And we will be watching and waiting.Bake Sale-come on Jack,is that the best you’ve got?

  • purple raider
    Posted at 13:52h, 10 September Reply

    Mike,do you really think Dale Knowles is going to do anything other than what he is told?She’s not going to let any receipts lose,especially ones concerning her.Knowles,with a name like that would’nt you think Dale would “Know” better than to let this go on much longer.How about it Township,those that care remember your financial report in the paper,you’ve got plenty to spread around.

  • WTH
    Posted at 17:36h, 10 September Reply

    Jack, guess that makes you the dope.

  • Lake Lady
    Posted at 19:09h, 10 September Reply

    It’s good to see that all the thoughts and prayers that went out for Mr. Petty were answered.All of his health issues must have been resolved,because we’ve had several sitings of the Township’s lawyer out and about.Now down to the matters at hand,setting a new court date,and getting to know the Il. Atty. Gen.a little better.From the posts below,I’d say the Twp. office is clean (because of lack of use over Broomcorn) and ready to accept investigators-I’m sorry,I meant visitors.Oh and Jack,if there’s any baked goods left,you may want to offer it to your new friends after you buzz them in.

  • Politically Correct
    Posted at 07:54h, 11 September Reply

    Reading the posts below made me a little curious about the Township’s hours of operation.To the casual observer driving by,it appears they have no set hours of operation.The office may be open in the morning or maybe not.It maybe open in the afternoon or maybe not.The only reason I bring this up is because of the recent investagations of the ECWD and their sucess.Often times they show up unannounced,could it be they are trying to gaurd against a vist from you folks?Keep up the good fight ECWD.Right is on your side.

  • WTH
    Posted at 15:10h, 11 September Reply

    (60 ILCS/Art. 255 ) Article 155 Township Public Comfort Stations. SEC.155-10 Definition. A public comfort station within the meaning of this Article is a institution where waiting rooms, toilet rooms for men and women, lavatories, check rooms, drinking water, and similar facilities are FREELY available for the convenience of the public.

  • Big
    Posted at 15:49h, 11 September Reply

    Everything must be good at township office back to business as usual or not. Mr. Petty has returned to work so maybe they can get back to avoiding how they are not going to show any receipts for gas purchases. How they are not going to show any 1099’s. How they are not going to show any respect to the taxpayers of Arcola. They have even lost the ability to defend what they are doing or maybe they were told not to.

  • High Rider
    Posted at 19:20h, 11 September Reply

    Is The tide turning?Jack,George,and Eagle where have you guys gone?How is it possible for you to give up the good fight if the truth is on your side?You guys have lost your voice,but from the posts below it would appear the Twp. is losing ground to stand on.A n A outing you on the use of the office over broomcorn,office hours or not,and the Health and well being of your atty.Your credibility is being called more and more into question everyday.As your circle gets smaller,the truth will become clearer.

  • dcwd
    Posted at 07:37h, 12 September Reply

    Scorned 2020 you need to keep up . The well informed is moving on to this next obstacle the township is trying to throw out to slow this process down. You are trying now to go back to the beginning. Would you like to start over again? Would you just answer the Foia’s if you had it to do over? And you are correct the brands are going to hurt some of the family members that chose sides and are in this for the wrong reason.
    Hope they are all happy with their choices. Please stay current, if we have to go back to the other sites it is too confusing to go thru your posts and see whom you really think is the villain here. Who did not respond to the request for information that you are required to give, is really where this is at.

  • Corn King
    Posted at 10:22h, 12 September Reply

    I have said this over and over. This is about the Township Clerk not complying with FOIA’s. It’s the Clerk’s DUTY to comply. To get their attorney involved with every FOIA request is pathetic. They are spending our tax money to defend our right to know how our tax money is used. Once they fully comply, then its game on. I don’t think the longer this goes on the more sympathy they are getting. This site clearly shows more and more people are seeing the light. Thank You, ECWd

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