State attorney general orders Village of Caseyville to turn documents over to Belleville man

Christina Stueve Feb. 9, 2012, 8:29am


Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Feb. 3 ordered the Village of Caseyville to turn over documents requested by a Belleville man under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The attorney general's office decided the Village violated the Freedom of Information Act by treating Bradley VanHoose of Belleville as a "recurrent requester," and advised Caseyville to refrain from treating him as such.

VanHoose had submitted a FOIA request to the Village seeking copies of board meeting minutes, village hotel meeting minutes, contracts, invoices and records related to the village's hotel fund.

He said he was seeking copies of proposals for the construction of fishing docks, invoices for fishing docks, print advertising for public bids and the designated location for posting to the village's hotel and motel committee meetings.

"The village is in financial straits," VanHoose said. "They spend money on things they don't have money for."

His three FOIA requests sought 18 pieces of information, he said.

A person has to file seven requests in seven days or 15 in 30 days, VanHoose said, to be considered a recurrent requester.

"The village violated the laws and failed to comply with" his FOIA, VanHoose said. "They misused the recurrent requester statute."

Caseyville responded to his requests in a letter, which said, "Pursuant to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, the Village considers you a recurrent requester. Caseyville is notifying you that your attached requests are being handled as recurrent requester."

On Oct. 4, the attorney general's office received VanHoose's request for review which challenged the village's classification of him as a recurrent requester. The attorney general's office then asked Caseyville why they called him a frequent requester.

Caseyville replied back and said VanHoose made 21 separate requests for different documents in a five-day period but did not provide further explanation or further explanation or copies of those requests for information to the office for review.

Caseyville Attorney Duane Clark was unavailable for comment.

"I feel like taxpayers deserve better, and they deserve answers," VanHoose said over the telephone on Thursday.

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