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July 13, 2024

Up to date timeline of Carlinville’s “Transparency” – LOL –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On August 24, 2018


After Daniel P. Schuering, Carlinville’s assistant city attorney, falsely accusing us of “wasting taxpayer funds” and claiming we were “political terrorists,” we decided it was time to show Carlinville’s residents and taxpayers the timeline of events leading us to where we are now.

The absolute failure of Carlinville to comply with Open Meetings and Open Records laws is appalling and disgusting.

Have fun reading how one municipality uses its attorneys to terrorize FOIA requesters.

Unfortunately, next week we will add another FOIA lawsuit to this list:

  • January 16, 2017:  FOIA request submitted – Carlinville did not answer
  • Feb 14, 2017: Carlinville paid its attorney $482 to falsely claim I was a commercial requester, demanded $200 and 35 working days to produce meeting agendas, meeting minutes, and petition objection packets for the Carlinville Electoral Board
  • February 15, 2017: FOIA Request submitted – no answer
  • February 22, 2017: Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor (“PAC”) asked Carlinville for an explanation – this is repeated throughout 2017 and Carlinville refused to answer the PAC on nearly all of them
  • March 17, 2017: Carlinville attorney replied to the Feb 15 FOIA request improperly denying the request and claiming they would need an additional 15 business days to produce 7 pieces of paper – they never produced anything
  • March 17, 2017: FOIA Lawsuit filed against Carlinville (2017-MR-25) for records requested two months prior
  • March 17, 2017: 30 days after the FOIA request, Carlinville attorney sent an email claiming the city needed an additional 15 days to produce 7 pieces of paper and falsely accused me of being a commercial requester and the request as being unduly burdensome – they never produced the records
  • March 18, 2017: FOIA request sent to Carlinville – no answer
  • March 20, 2018: FOIA request sent to Carlinville – no answer
  • March 24, 2017: We published an article about the Carlinville Treasurer complaining about a previous article we wrote about the Mayor hiding credit card bills, which she was and still is hiding. The Treasurer claimed we impugned her reputation, but has still not provided the credit card statements that were requested under FOIA
  • March 28, 2017: We alleged Carlinville’s Mayor is denying FOIA requests for the purpose of influencing the upcoming election (political purposes)
  • March 28, 2017: We wrote about two more FOIA complaints being sent to the PAC in reference to the March 18 and March 20, 2017 FOIA requests Carlinville failed to answer
  • March 29, 2017: AG asks Carlinville to explain their failure to answer the March 18 FOIA request
  • March 29, 2017: AG asks Carlinville to explain their failure to answer the March 20 FOIA request
  • April 1, 2017: FOIA request sent to Carlinville – no answer
  • April 3, 2017: The ‘Burnian, a local newspaper of Blackburn College where Carlinville’s Mayor sat on the Board of Trustees, published an un-researched hit-piece which included many lies told by the Mayor. The author even implied we were “being investigated” for interfering with the electoral process. We were never “investigated” and we never interfered with anything – this was simply another lie by the Mayor and a failed former local newspaper owner
  • April 3, 2017: Carlinville city council directs their attorney to provide all records requested prior to that date – none were ever provided pursuant to this direction
  • April 15, 2017: Two FOIA request sent to Carlinville – no answer
  • April 16, 2017: FOIA request sent to Carlinville – no answer
  • April 17, 2017: Carlinville published meeting minutes with inaccurate information (later corrects it after AG gets involved) – claims they sent requested records to me on a CD, later admits, in another FOIA request, that no CD (and consequently no records) was ever sent
  • Spring of 2017: Carlinville attorney, on camera during public meeting, admits that they are denying public records because they want to litigate it so that they can find out during depositions who asked me to request the records I requested – if that doesn’t prove Carlinville’s willful, intentional, and in bad faith violations of FOIA, I don’t know what would.
  • April 24, 2017: AG sends second letter for response to my March 18 and March 20 FOIA requests the city never replied
  • April 27, 2018: FOIA request sent to Carlinville – no answer
  • May 5, 2017: Carlinville attorney admits in writing that no CD was ever provided to me
  • May 9, 2017: AG sends second request to Carlinville seeking info on their denial of Feb 15 FOIA request
  • June 22, 2017: AG sends second notice to Carlinville regarding a denied FOIA request sent by Robert Bogue on April 15, 2017
  • July 11, 2017: FOIA lawsuit #2 filed against Carlinville (2017-MR-82)
  • July 11, 2017: AG published BINDING OPINION number 17-009 stating that Carlinville violated the FOIA by their failure to answer the March 18, 2017, FOIA request
  • July 20, 2017: Carlinville’s mayor lied by implying to local newspaper that they had provided all the records I requested – she lied, they printed it
  • August 11, 2017: FOIA lawsuit #3 filed against Carlinville
  • August 31, 2017: Local Carlinville newspaper calls FOIA requesters sneaky and cowardly
  • September 4, 2017: Robert Bogue files FOIA lawsuit against Carlinville
  • September 21, 2017: Sawyerville uses Carlinville’s tactics and refuses to answer FOIA request – we sued them, they settled the suit after producing the records and paying our attorney fees
  • October 2, 2017: Alderman lies to Carlinville city council about my comments at a meeting the month prior
  • October 4, 2017: We published a teaser article on falsified water test results being sent to the EPA – we will publish the evidence shortly
  • October 19, 2017: FOIA lawsuit #4 filed against Carlinville
  • November 1, 2017: AG published nonbinding opinion no: 2016 PAC 49874 stating that Carlinville violated the Open Meetings Act on September 25, 2017
  • November 6, 2017: Carlinville attorney claims the AG attorneys work for minimum wage while complaining about the PAC’s opinion
  • November 17, 2017: Fosterburg sees the writing on the wall and pulls out of the private water company deal
  • December 2017: Carlinville [illegally] participates in forming a private company with taxpayer funds (we believe a municipality lacks authority to form a private water company)
  • December 14, 2017: Carlinville elected officials to receive Notice of Criminal Trespass warning prohibiting them from attending a meeting of a private water company that the city of Carlinville owns
  • January 10, 2018: FOIA Request sent to Carlinville – they refused to answer
  • January 17, 2018: We publish Carlinville’s federal grant and note it was used for a purpose other than what the grant application stated it would be used for
  • February 19, 2018: FOIA request sent to Carlinville – they refused to answer
  • February 23, 2018: Carlinville and other entities in the private water company are sued. The suit challenges their authority to operate the private water company.
  • March 5, 2018: Carlinville warns residents about its [illegal] public comment rules, claims nobody can question individual aldermen at a meeting. If they do, they will be removed from the meeting
  • March 7, 2018: AG’s PAC issues another nonbinding opinion stating that Carlinville violated the Open Meetings Act during its January 2, 2018, meeting when it tried using city council rules to subvert the Open Meetings Act.
  • March 19, 2018: Carlinville’s Mayor Demuzio’s first attempt at automatic home rule for Carlinville – she misinforms aldermen and public about it – it later failed miserably in the legislature.
  • March 19, 2018: Carlinville tries shutting down public comment. They failed.
  • March 19, 2018: Carlinville blows off nonbinding opinion from the Attorney General stating the city violated the Open Meetings Act on January 2, 2018
  • March 23, 2018: Carlinville Alderman Cindy Campbell is “astounded” at the “arrogance” of citizens who dare question anything she does
  • July 10, 2018: Judge GRANTS partial summary judgment against Carlinville (2017-MR-25) and orders the city to produce records related to my January 15, 2017, FOIA request.
  • August 2, 2018: Attorney General published opinion stating Carlinville violated FOIA on February 15, 2017, by improperly claiming the request was for a commercial purpose
  • August 4, 2018: After receipt of the August 2, 2018, AG opinion, I renewed my demand for the public records requested on February 15, 2017 – Carlinville has failed to answer
  • August 20, 2018: Attorney Dan Schuering lied to Carlinville city council by claiming the Edgar County Watchdogs were “political terrorists” and he was being combative throughout most of his comments to the city council
  • August 30, 2018: Another FOIA lawsuit filed because Carlinville and its FOIA Officer, Carla Brockmeier refused to provide records requested more than 18 months ago. 2018-MR-120 – Macoupin County Circuit Court.

We are approaching 18 months and still seeking the same information I requested back in early 2017.

We will get the requested records, it is only a matter of time.

Mayor Demuzio, her appointed attorneys, Clerk Brockmeier (FOIA Officer), and the city council members who continue to allow this to happen are the only ones “wasting” taxpayer funds.

At some point, they should probably ask themselves why they don’t simply provide the requested records as the law demands they provide.

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  • Dave
    Posted at 20:30h, 24 August Reply

    Sure sounds like someone has something to hide, my mama taught her kids that if you have something you need to hide you most likely shouldn’t be doing it.

  • jannie
    Posted at 06:12h, 25 August Reply

    It’s pretty obvious they have something to hide – and who keeps blowing off the AG office and ignoring them! And, unless the attorney Shuerring is being pd a flat fee/yr. I’m wondering how much the citizens are being billed for all this dancing around and ignoring the FOIA requests.

  • ang
    Posted at 17:48h, 25 August Reply

    Wait, was the AG’s opinion binding or non-binding? They rarely issue binding opinions, so those who wish to withhold public records have no fear of any non binding opinions not in their favor.

    Skip the AG’s PAC and just file a FOIA lawsuit.

    Oh wait! This costs taxpayers money, these lawsuits.

    You just can’t win in this corrupt State.

  • Dennis Finegan
    Posted at 00:29h, 26 August Reply

    Why do you have to file suit? Shouldn’t the AG? They are breaking the law after all.

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 05:34h, 26 August Reply

      the AG would never sue to make a public body comply with FOIA

    • ang
      Posted at 11:37h, 26 August Reply

      The AG’s Public Access Counselor’s office couldn’t find my request for review of a FOIA denial, because their (get this) email filter may have blocked an email with photographic evidence attached from getting through.

      When I sent emails to follow up and check status with no media files attached, they stated they couldn’t find those either.

      The AG’s PAC sounds like mere window dressing to lend the appearance that the office somehow enforces FOIA compliance, but in reality, the PAC issues largely useless, non binding opinions that lack any legal teeth. This then forces journalists, government “sunshine” groups and citizens to file Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, which taxpayers actually foot the bill for when the public body has to pay attorney fees to answer and respond to these FOIA lawsuits. You can even FOIA to find out how much money was spent on legal fees when the public body was sued for FOIA noncompliance.

      It’s like how property owners who can afford an attorney can get their property tax assessments reduced, but those who cannot afford to fight a sky high assessment get stuck with high tax bills.

      Not a socialist when it comes to concerns about a market based economy, but capitalism sure has perverted the legal system in favor of those who can afford to retain legal services. Which is why these nonprofit watchdog groups need donations.

  • Roger
    Posted at 20:00h, 26 August Reply

    Perhaps start sending FOIA’s by First Class Mail and separately Certified Mail – Return Receipt Requested to get around their email filters.

    FYI you can delete the part below from comments)
    Here’s a news article from Tacoma. Washington where a FOIA on 9 alleged work related text messages sent by the Pierce County Prosecutor ended up costing taxpayers over 1 million dollars in a six year losing court battle. He’s up for re-election and not doing so well against one of his former Deputy Prosecutors for some reason.

  • Doug
    Posted at 10:35h, 28 August Reply

    I’m late to the party… please help me get caught up… what is the original reason for the FOIA requests?

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