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 Final Decision FIC2013-317
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Paul Kadri,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2013-317
Chairman, Board of Education, Groton
Public Schools; and Board of Education,
Groton Public Schools,
     Respondents
February 26, 2014

     The above-captioned matter was scheduled to be heard as a contested case on February 6, 2014, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared. Prior to the hearing, on January 31, 2014, the respondents filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.  Although the hearing was opened on February 6, 2014, no evidence was taken and the matter was continued to March 12, 2014, for hearing on the motion to dismiss.  However, upon review of the respondents’ motion and the complaint in this matter, the Commission hereby grants the respondents’ motion for the following reasons.
     1.  It is found that the respondents are public agencies within the meaning of §1-200(1), G.S.
     2.  By letter filed May 24, 2013, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by:
[a.] Holding an illegal meeting. . .;
[b.] Acting in a fraudulent manner in conducting the investigation . . . thereby piercing the attorney-client protections allowing for the full disclosure of related documents;
[c.] Inappropriately barring me from attending public meetings related to the Board of Education; [and]
[d.] Prohibiting me to enter my office to gather my personal files and belongings.
     3.  With respect to the complainant’s allegations described in paragraphs 2.a and 2.c, above, §1-206(b)(1), G.S., provides in relevant part:
Any person denied the right to inspect or copy records under section 1-210 or wrongfully denied the right to attend any 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.  A notice of appeal shall be filed not later than thirty days after such denial, except in the case of an unnoticed or secret meeting, in which case the appeal shall be filed not later than thirty days after the person filing the appeal receives notice in fact that such meeting was held.
     4.  In the present case, the complainant alleges that the respondents held an improperly noticed meeting on May 7, 2012, in which they discussed his performance as superintendent.  The complainant claims that he received actual notice of the discussion at such meeting one year later, on May 1, 2013.
     5.  Based on the complainant’s notice of appeal to the Commission, it is found that the agenda for the May 7, 2012 special meeting was posted on May 4, 2012.  It is found, based on the complainant’s notice of appeal, that the notice for such meeting stated, “there may be discussion concerning superintendent performance.”
     6.  Based on the complainant’s notice of appeal to the Commission, it is also found that the complainant attended the May 7, 2012 meeting, and was invited into the meeting’s executive session.
     7.  Based on the complainant’s notice of appeal to the Commission, it is found that following the May 7, 2012 meeting, the complainant was placed on paid administrative leave.
     8.  It is found, therefore, that the May 7, 2012 meeting was neither unnoticed nor secret, and §1-206(b)(1), G.S., required the complainant to file his notice of appeal within thirty days of May 7, 2012.
     9.  It is found that the complainant did not file his notice of appeal within thirty days of May 7, 2012.
     10. It is concluded, therefore, that the Commission is without jurisdiction to hear the complainant’s allegation described in paragraph 2.a, above.
     11. With respect to the complainant’s allegation in paragraph 2.c, above, the complainant claims that the respondents prohibited him from attending their public meetings “until further notice.”  The complainant alleged that the respondents prohibited him from attending a meeting on September 24, 2012, and that the respondents’ counsel reiterated that ban to the complainant’s attorney on October 1, 2012.
     12. It is found that the complainant did not file his notice of appeal with respect to the allegation described in paragraph 2.c, above, within thirty days of October 1, 2012.
     13. It is concluded, therefore, that the Commission is without jurisdiction to hear the allegation described in paragraph 2.c, above.
     14. With respect to the complainant’s allegations described in paragraph 2.b and 2.d, §1-206(b)(4), G.S., provides:
Notwithstanding any provision of this subsection to the contrary, in the case of an appeal to the commission of a denial by a public agency, the commission may, upon motion of such agency, confirm the action of the agency and dismiss the appeal without a hearing if it finds, after examining the notice of appeal and construing all allegations most favorably to the appellant, that the agency has not violated the Freedom of Information Act.
     15. With respect to the complainant’s allegation in paragraph 2.b, above, it is found that the Commission already adjudicated this matter between the complainant and the respondents in Docket #FIC2012-642, Paul Kadri v. Chairman, Board of Education, Groton Public School; and Board of Education, Groton Public Schools.  The Commission takes administrative notice of the administrative record and final decision in that matter.  It is found, moreover, that the complainant’s notice of appeal to the Commission fails to allege that the complainant requested records or that the agency denied such request.  
     16. It is concluded pursuant to §1-206(b)(4), G.S., that the respondents have not violated the FOI Act with respect to the complainant’s allegation described in paragraph 2.b, above.
     17. With respect to the complainant’s allegation in paragraph 2.d, above, it is concluded that the complainant’s allegation does not constitute a denial of any right conferred by the FOI Act. 
     18. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged by the complainant in this matter.
     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.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 26, 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:
Paul Kadri
c/o Norman A. Pattis
The Pattis Law Firm
649 Amity Road
Bethany, CT  06524
and
Kevin Smith, Esq.
129 Church Street
Suite 400
New Haven, CT  06510
Chairman, Board of Education, Groton Public Schools;
and Board of Education, Groton Public Schools
c/o Floyd J. Dugas, Esq.
Berchem, Moses & Devlin, P.C.
75 Broad Street
Milford, CT  06460
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission

FIC/2013-317/FD/cac/2/26/2014