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April 15, 2024

AG decides: Clark-Edgar Rural Water District violated FOIA….in 2012!

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On June 23, 2015

Edgar Co. (ECWd)

Over three years ago I filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor regarding the Clark-Edgar Rural Water District for violating the Freedom of Information Act.

June 19th, 2012 I asked for documents to be provided in electronic format.  The water district claimed they did not have any of the records electronically. When I picked up the paper copies it was clear they charged me for records that were in electronic format.

It took 3 years and 4 days for the AG’s office to come to the conclusion that the district lied, as they did in fact have records in electronic form, and they inappropriately charged for the records received.

It is a sad day when a citizen has to wait over 3 years for a determination on a simple FOIA violation.  Even before we obtained three years of knowledge of what is or is not a violation, this case was a clear violation.

The AG’s office has directed the Clark Edgar Rural Water District to pay $64.20 for records they had electronically and denied having.

How long will it take the water district to comply with the directive from the AG office to refund my money?  Any bets that recovery of these funds will require court action in spite of the AG’s direction?

What is the ironic part of this, the water district has spent thousands on an attorney fighting this matter.  Had they simply turned over the records in the format they had them, and refunded what they inappropriately charged me, the taxpayers would have been better off, but these people would rather fight transparency than do what is right.

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  • Chris M. Gaines
    Posted at 02:11h, 24 June

    PAC is obviously not effective and a waste of time. Court action is apparently more effective and a quicker way to get most public bodies to comply with FOIA laws. Who pays for these FOIA lawsuits ultimately though…the taxpayers obviously. Evidently they don’t care it does. Now what? More lawsuits, more fees from lawyers. Taxpayers lose more money in the end. Same as it ever was. What have you really accomplished in all this?

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 09:31h, 24 June

      We proved that the public body is willing to LIE to the public. We proved that they violated the law. Those issues had to be exposed so that they can be ran out of office at the next election.

  • Robert O. Bogue
    Posted at 06:45h, 30 June

    What an appalling tribute to the political manipulation, incompetency, indifference and deliberate criminal activity of both the water district and our Illinois Attorney General. Is there yet a single soul in our state that would attempt to justify the actions of either? I sincerely hope not.

    Is there any doubt, that as citizens should speak against wrong doing and try to bring it to a halt? To speak against those that have allowed our laws to be ignored, broken displaced or selectively enforced by a few, all with some sort of personal interest or agenda? Once again, I sincerely hope not. Mr. Kraft was right and his point, that all of our laws should be followed, is spot on.

    Unquestionably, laws are needed for the protection of all citizens, for equal opportunity and for justice to prevail for everyone. Enforcing our laws is a cost of governance and needed for the protection of all citizens. Those that ignore our laws, that manipulate our laws, that selectively enforce our laws and that fight their personal battles using taxpayer dollars without reproach, damage the faith each of us place in our government and damage our country.

    As noted, this is a appalling example of how Illinois government, like the farmer’s hen house, has now become the meeting place, the residency, and the chow hall for every size and shape of vermin in the land. But that; can easily be brought to an end when citizens of our county, state and country speak up. It’s an American right, and responsibility, just as voting is, and it works. Our country is worth fighting for.