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Monday, December 19, 2016

PAC Finds FOIA Violation Where Public Body Doesn't Respond

In its 11th binding opinion of the year, the Public Access Counselor (PAC) office of the Attorney General found a public body in violation of FOIA for failing to "appropriately respond" to a FOIA request.  PAC Op. 16-011.

In July, Glotz submitted a FOIA request to the Housing Authority of Cook County asking for communications between a housing developer (Buckeye) and its representatives, copies of applications submitted by Buckeye, and any "negative remarks" or tenant complaints about Buckeye projects. In August, the Authority contacted the requester to let him know that the Authority had not located any responsive records and asking for clarification about his request. The requester clarified his request, but the Authority failed to respond, and in September, Glotz filed a complaint with the PAC. The Authority did not file a response to the complaint.

The PAC found the Authority in violation of FOIA by not responding to the initial FOIA request within 5 business days. Although the Authority did work out a clarification of the request with the requester, the PAC found the Authority in violation for failing to respond to the clarified request either. 

Unfortunately, as with almost all of the PAC's binding opinions, there is no new guidance for public bodies in this binding opinion as it simply reminds public bodies that they must comply with FOIA within the statutory time-frame.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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