We’ve been in the public records request business for the last five years and well, we’ll be the first to admit, “this ain’t our first rodeo.”
For instance, on December 25, 2011, MAOS requested from the City of Lauderdale Lakes a one-page report from their MUNIS accounting system.
According to the Florida Supreme Court, records custodians must fulfill a records request with “reasonable limited delay.” The only delay allowed, in fact, is time used in copying and redaction.
Any idea how long it’s been since we filed that request?
Glad you asked.
About 41 days, or if you are really into the data,
- 3,542,400 seconds
- 59,040 minutes
- 984 hours
- 5 weeks (rounded down)
So, do you consider that to be either limited and/or reasonable?
Also, there’s been really excessive fees demanded for our record production requests, as was the case for City Attorney Jim Brady’s emails which contained the following phrases:
- What up blood
- He waxed that
- Tony Danza (look it up)
- Fo’ shizzle my nizzle
Such a task, we were told, would cost us $86.52 — the price of four hours of staff time.
If you wonder why we did such a thing, our “jubblies request” was in candid response to an email we obtained from an apologetic Brady who offered “my bad” to the Commission.
Really? My bad? Nearly $200 per hour and this is best he can do to make up for his mistake is to channel his inner Snoki? Seems that someone’s been watching a little too much MTV lately…
While you may believe it’s not very professional to “fo’ shizzle my nizzle”, what about needing half a business day to dig up a few emails?
Like mentioned, this ain’t our first rodeo, so having decided enough is enough, we reached out for legal assistance.
SIEGEL SIEGEL & WRIGHT
Civil & Criminal Trial Attorneys
February 3, 2012
VIA ELECTRONIC (firstname.lastname@example.org)
AND U.S. MAIL CERTIFIED/RETURN RECEIPT
Mayor Barrington Russell
Vice Mayor Edwina Coleman
Deputy Vice Mayor Eric L. Haynes
Commissioner Benjamin Williams, Sr.
Commissioner Gloria Lewis
Commissioner Levoyd Williams
Commissioner Patricia Hawkins-Williams
Re: Notice of Intent to Sue Regarding Failure to Comply with Florida Public Records Law
On behalf of our client, MAOS Media Partners LLC (hereinafter referred to as “MAOS”), the purpose of this letter is to notify the Lauderdale Lakes City Commission that it is our opinion that the City’s excessive fees and delay in producing public records previously requested by our client violates Florida Law.
MAOS requests that these violations be addressed within 20 calendar days from receipt of this letter. If these violations are not addressed, it is the intent of MAOS through this firm to initiate litigation pursuant to Florida Statute 119 and to seek all other remedies available at law, including but not limited to complaints with appropriate agencies.