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.
Public Access Counselor
Office of the Attorney General
500 South 2nd Street
Springfield, Illinois 62706
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.
- Initially respond according to law – if you have nothing to hide this is the step where you remain.
- When you want to hide what is requested, make improper redactions or provide incomplete responses hoping nobody will notice.
- Hire an attorney because this might scare the requester away, and besides, you can use this expense for publicity later.
- Fabricate and exaggerate the actual costs of replying to FOIA requests
- 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.
- 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.