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April 25, 2024

Kankakee defending FOIA lawsuit for denying public records –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On August 5, 2019

Kankakee, IL. (ECWd) –

We sued the City of Kankakee last week for their improper denial of copies of settlements/agreements approved during their July 1, 2019 public meeting.

What I requested:

  • “Copy of all sales tax sharing agreements/settlement approved at a city council meeting within the past 30 days.”

Kankakee’s word games in response:

  • “The City is not in possession of any settlement agreements that have been entered into by the City and any other party.”

Please note their creative use of words to attempt to deny the public’s right to know what the city council voted on during an open meeting.

There is a difference between something the council approved, and something entered into between the City and any other party. Clearly, Kankakee is trying to stall publication of these agreements/settlements until the other parties have also agree to the terms, but that is not how the Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act are supposed to work.

When a public body votes on something during an open meeting, the public has a right to know what they are voting on, and the public has a right to a copy of whatever document the council voted on – whether the vote passed or failed, the right of the public to the information is the same.

Additionally, Kankakee failed to respond within the mandated 5 business day timeline set out in the FOI Act, which declares it as a de facto denial of the requested records.

This denial from Kankakee also prevents media from reporting on the actions of public officials in a timely manner.

Read the Complaint below:

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