College of DuPage (ECWd) -
When a public body continuously and strategically circumvents the law, sometimes the only to way assert the statutory right of access to public records is to file a lawsuit. That is what happened today in DuPage Circuit Court. Case number 2015-CH-637.
Of the several Plaintiffs in this action are the Edgar County Watchdogs, American Transparency, Kirk Allen and John Kraft. This comes after months of dropped deadlines, incomplete information, improper denials, attempts to have public financial records sealed by the Court, complaints to the Attorney General, findings from the Attorney General stating COD violated the law, and this college still tries to hide and manipulate public records to keep the public from seeing them.
This was a 12- Count Complaint under the Freedom of Information Act and was filed after becoming exhausted with COD's system of secrets.
Of the records requested were:
- the financial information used to support the slideshow presented by college staff during the February meeting
- emails to and from Dr. Breuder's email account
- copies of legal invoices
- various receipts
- police reports
All of the above are public records and are required to be produced under FOIA.
Is this the new tactic of COD and their PR firm? "Balanced" information delivery?
From the compliant:
“In recent months, COD has been barraged by negative publicity regarding its management practices and its use of taxpayer funds. Much of that publicity has been generated by not-for-profit “whistleblower” organizations, such as the Edgar County Watchdogs and OpenTheBooks.com, American Transparency.
In an apparent effort to halt further public scrutiny, COD has begun violating FOIA requests to prevent those entities from obtaining documents. In many instances, COD has simply refused to respond to valid FOIA requests. In other instances, COD has improperly withheld many of the requested public documents. Perhaps most troubling of all, COD has a practice of misleadingly backdating its responses to FOIA requests to make them appear timely, when they are not. In short, COD has been flouting the law.”
Our legal counsel is Rathje Woodward Attorneys at Law in Wheaton, IL. The same law firm that successfully won the re-vote of the Breuder severance package and larger room case on the Open Meetings Act violations from January, which resulted in more than 500 citizens attending the meeting. Our lawyers are Timothy Elliott, ESQ; Charles Philbrick, ESQ; and Jordan Franklin, ESQ.
Daily Herald reported on this (here)(subscription may be required).
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