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Final Decision FIC2013-278
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Lamberto Lucarelli,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2013-278
Chief, Police Department, Town
of Old Saybrook; and Police
Department, Town of Old Saybrook,
     Respondents
April 9, 2014

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 10, 2014, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. 
     After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:
     1.  The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of §1-200(1), G.S.
     2.  It is found that by letter dated April 22, 2013, the complainant made the following request to the respondents:
“I request all information that pertains to the Respondent Old Saybrook Police Department Police and Practice of charging a Record Request fee of public (or other?) parties requesting records from the said Respondent OSPD.
According to the Record Request Form that is made available from the OSPD for record-requesting parties, this records search fee has been in effect at the Respondent OSPD since January 1, 2011.  The cost of the personal identity and address information regarding the record-requesting party, and information pertaining to the requested record.
I, the FOIA Complainant request copies of all requesting party named Record Request Forms that have been submitted to the OSPD from the beginning of the Policy and Practice up to the present time.  I also request all information regarding the financial accounting that regarded the monies collected by the Respondent OSPD from the Record Request Form Policy and Practice.   I would like to know the sums of monies so collected, who had responsibility for keeping accounting records and how the monies collected were financially routed and used (spent)…back to and through the town municipal administration?...or directly to and through the OSPD administrative departments?...who [sic] was disbursed the monies in question?...and what were the monies spent for? Also, I ask for all jurisdictional or legal foundation ordinances, State statute, or legal opinion that the Respondent OSPD claims to authorize the collection of the said Record Request Fee Policy and Practice.
     Pursuant to G.S. Sec. 1-212(d)(1), I request that all FOIA requested information be provided to me free of charge due to my indigent status.”
     3.  It is found that by letter received and filed on May 6, 2013, the complainant appealed to this Commission which appeal stated, in relevant part, as follows:
 “…Case in point is my previous FOIC proceeding Docket #FIC2011-592, in which I was able to obtain a FOIC Final Decision that ruled the usage of the Old Saybrook Police Department to charge a “non-FOIA” Record Fee for the provision of information to the public to be illegal (or so I thought).
13. It is concluded that §29-10b, G.S., applies only to the Commissioner of Public Safety and does not authorize the respondents to charge a search or copy fee in excess of what is permitted by the FOI Act.
14. 2. [sic] The Commission wishes to advise the respondents that §1-210(a), G.S., provides in relevant part: “ Any agency rule or regulation, or part thereof, that …curtails in any way the rights granted by [§1-210(a), G.S.] shall be void.  The Commission further advises the respondents that §1-212(a), G.S., controls the fees that they may charge for copies of public record, not §29-10b, G.S.
I have asked the FOIC to enforce (with the State Attorney General) that Final Decision and put a stop to the OSPD usage, but the FOIC has not (FOIC Attorney Siegel has knowledge of this).  So, in addition to being constitutional rights “criminal” I charge the FOIC is also just plain thievery “criminal” in declining to put a stop to the illegal picking of the public’s pocket by the OSPD.
     I submit this FOIC complaint [to] provide direct evidence of the “illegal gains” that the Respondent OSPD and perhaps the Town of Old Saybrook itself have “stolen’ from actual named people, under the false legal auspices of a “Records Request Fee” that the Respondent is (apparently) legally barred from charging under the Freedom of Information Act.  I ask the FOIC to, itself, view all of the evidence that I requested for its own uses to pursue criminal charges against the Respondent.
     If the FOIC does as I suggest, this will only right the wrong as to the Respondent OSPD.  It is this Complainant’s understanding that there are or “were” other municipal police departments throughout the State of Connecticut which also maintained a similar Police and Practice of collecting such (illegal) “Records Request Fees”.  I submit the Freedom of Information Commission is ethically obligated to also restitute and make whole all other people who may have been defrauded of “fees” under the “false color of law”[sic]
     You the State, You the Government, You are the Criminals.”
     4.  Section 1-206(b)(1), G.S., provides in relevant part that “[a]ny person denied the right to inspect or copy records under section 1-210 or wrongfully denied the right to attend a meeting of a public agency or denied any other right conferred by the Freedom of Information Act may appeal therefrom to the Freedom of Information Commission, by filing a notice of appeal with said commission.”
     5.  It is found that the complainant not only has not ever been charged for what he describes as a “Records Request Fee” or a search fee, he has never been charged any fee at all for any of the hundreds of records he has received from the respondent department.
     6.  It is found that the complainant did not claim in his appeal to this Commission, or at the hearing on this matter, that he was denied access to the requested records but rather the complainant’s sole purpose for filing his appeal was to “provide direct evidence” of the respondents “illegal gains” and compel “the FOIC to enforce (with the State Attorney General) [the decision in Docket #FIC2011-592] and put a stop to the OSPD usage [of a search fee].”
     7.  It is found that prior to the hearing in this matter, the respondents offered to provide the complainant with a copy of the records responsive to his request at a meeting between them which offer the complainant refused.  At the hearing on this matter, the complainant explained that he did not want the responsive records for himself but that he wanted this Commission to have them and therefore, refused the records at the meeting so that the respondents could offer them at the hearing and thereby have them made part of the administrative record and the Commission’s file.
     8.  In this regard, it is found that the complainant’s appeal does not allege a violation of the Freedom of Information Act and will not be addressed further.
     The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
     1. The complaint is dismissed with prejudice.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 9, 2014.
__________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission

PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S., THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.
THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:
Lamberto Lucarelli
21 Howard Street
Old Saybrook, CT  06475
Chief, Police Department, Town of Old Saybrook;
and Police Department, Town of Old Saybrook
c/o Michael E. Cronin, Jr., Esq.
201 Main Street
P.O. Box 454
Old Saybrook, CT  06475
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission

FIC/2013-278/FD/cac/4/9/2014