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October 4, 2022

Marshall’s Mayor Sanders falsified FOIA costs –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On September 22, 2014

MARSHALL, IL. (ECWd) –

In the August 22, 2014 edition of the Marshall Advocate, Mayor Camie Sanders is quoted as stating “in the last 6 to 8 weeks Mr. Kraft and Mr. Allen have cost the city at least $6-7000 in legal fees and staff time to comply with their FOIA requests“. (read it here)

That statement concerned me because I would not want to be responsible for costing the city that much money needlessly. So I submitted a FOIA request seeking any public records related to costs incurred in processing FOIA requests.

Any guesses on what the answer was?

That’s right – “The Mayor estimated those figures” and “there are no specific records of the time expended by staff…“.

Mayor Sanders fabricated FOIA costs. He should apologize to the people of Marshall for embarrassing the office of Mayor.

See below:

———————————–
Mr. Kraft,
 
In response to your request, there are no specific records of the time expended by staff or the municipal attorney in responding to specific FOIA requests.  The Mayor estimated those figures. 
 
In addition, the City has been billed for general legal services by the law firm Clark Baird Smith LLP, including services related to FOIA requests in excess of $2,000.  The City has attached invoices identifying these general charges but has withheld information within the invoices which would disclose attorney-client and privileged information pursuant to Section 7(1)(m) of the Freedom of Information Act. 
 
You have a right to have the denial of your request reviewed by the Public Access Counselor (PAC) at the Office of the Illinois Attorney General.  5 ILCS 140/9.5(a).  You can file your Request for Review with the PAC by writing to:

Public Access Counselor

Office of the Attorney General 

500 South 2nd Street

Springfield, Illinois 62706

Fax: 217-782-1396

E-mail:
[email protected]

You also have the right to seek judicial review of your denial by filing a lawsuit in the State circuit court. 5 ILCS 140/11.
Respectfully,
 
Nancy Smitley
City of Marshall
Office Manager
————————————–
This means the mayor was simply attempting to paint the city as a victim and make the resident think we were costing them excessive amounts of money with a flood of FOIA requests. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Especially the legal expenses; I doubt they were incurred because of us.
This falls right in line with Step 3, Step 4, and Step 5 of our yet-to-be-copyrighted formula for FOIA obstruction:
  1. Initially respond according to law – if you have nothing to hide this is the step where you remain.
  2. When you want to hide what is requested, make improper redactions or provide incomplete responses hoping nobody will notice.
  3. Hire an attorney because this might scare the requester away, and besides, you can use this expense for publicity later.
  4. Fabricate and exaggerate the actual costs of replying to FOIA requests
  5. Play the victim card by tell the public you are being harassed and feel threatened and it is costing you thousands and thousands of dollars to comply – but make sure you don’t tell the public this is all because you are trying to hide embarrassing records.
  6. Continue to play the victim card, say you have nothing to hide, but in the end you resign in shame because the truth eventually comes around to haunt you. (Steps 3 thru 6 all include “attack the requester” as a critical component)

Just a quick reminder: There is absolutely no reason to hire an attorney to process FOIA requests UNLESS you are trying to hide things from the public. Period.

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1 Comment
  • MIKE
    Posted at 22:01h, 22 September

    It’s about time some one put the good old boy’s club in their place.

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