Fairview Heights FOIA deadline passes without response

Amelia Flood May 18, 2009, 12:52pm


The City of Fairview Heights has yet to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Madison County Record seeking settlement and other documents from the city's lawsuits against 13 online travel companies.

The FOIA was submitted to Fairview Heights City Attorney Al Paulson May 7.

The Record is seeking to determine how much the city's suit netted, and what, if anything, was paid to its attorneys.

Paulson had requested the newspaper make the FOIA request due to confidentiality clauses in the settlements. The Record has been requesting the documents since mid-April.

Fairview Heights Mayor Gail Mitchell had said in prior interviews that he would authorize the release of the documents.

Under Illinois law, a body receiving a FOIA has seven business days to honor or deny the request.

A phone message inquiring as to the status of the request had not been returned as of 4 p.m. Monday by Paulson's office.

Fairview Heights sued online travel companies including Orbitz, Expedia, Priceline.com and nine others as part of a class action suit in 2004. The class was never certified after the suit moved to federal court. Fairview Heights pursued individual suits against the companies for back hotel room taxes and settled with all 13. Orbitz was the last to settle in March of this year.

Thus far, the city has records of receiving about $50,000 from Orbitz, according to the city's treasurer's office.

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