Clark Co., IL. (ECWd) –
We have had extensive experience with numerous public bodies in the past four years, some fight against the Freedom of Information Act for awhile and realize they were wrong, some comply with FOIA and produce what is asked for, some fight FOIA in the court system spending thousands to keep public records from the public, but this is the first time we have come across a public body that just simply ignores their responsibility to the public and to the law.
The Clark County Park District, and Charity Murphy in particular, appears to have simply cast aside the Freedom of Information Act thinking she doesn’t have to comply with state law. She has refused to even respond to requests for over 7 weeks and counting.
Not counting the current FOIA lawsuit, I have no less than 13 FOIA requests for public records that have been ignored, and I know of at least 2 other people who have at least 3 FOIA requests that have been ignored.
This has led to a situation to where the public needs to know that Charity Murphy is placing the Park District in the position of fighting all of these in court and incurring court costs and attorney costs that the taxpayers will have to pay. Everyone will try and say that “we” are costing the park money – when the real truth is that the Park, and in particular, Charity Murphy, is costing itself money by refusing to follow the law.
So now we have a situation where the Chairman of the Board cheated to get on the ballot, with the assistance of Charity Murphy and the Clark County Clerk, by knowingly having his petitions forged to place his name on the 2-year ballot spot – and he does nothing to ensure that the park director comply with the law. Maybe it’s some kind of collusion going on where the Park District is trying to keep from producing incriminating documents.
It’s no wonder this type of attitude is tolerated, I mean why not simply refuse to produce public records when they have already illegally compensated commissioners, violated grant assurances, violated the public officers prohibited activities act, given two pay raises in 2 months while claiming they are broke, lied about a “free” paint job, allow commissioners to get by without paying late fees in violation of the law, illegally use public credit for personal gain, what’s one more law violation that they will probably never get prosecuted on?
My oldest request was dated May 22, 2015 and is now more than 31 working days past the original due date.
What ever the case may be, this will not be tolerated and it appears that the only option left is to file more lawsuits to enforce our right to have access to public records.