Carlinville lawsuit

CARLINVILLE (Heartland Newsfeed) — A two-year-old lawsuit issued by a governmental watchdog group against the City of Carlinville has been given a new court date following the defense counsel’s lack of preparation for the suit during the March 25 hearing.

The suit, filed by Edgar County Watchdogs co-founder John Kraft, stems from a 2017 incident involving the city’s refusal to fulfill a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) inquiry for recordings of previous city council meetings as well as nomination manuscripts for an upcoming municipal election set to take place on Apr. 4 of said year.

On multiple occasions, city officials — including mayor Deanna Demuzio and city clerk Carla Brockmeier — did not respond to the requests as given and proceeded to lie about ECW’s request as “being a commercial request.”

Beginning in May 2017, the Public Access Counselor for the Illinois Attorney General’s office questioned the city‘s lack of response of several occasions, citing opinions and later mandates that the city should comply to the request, as well as the guidelines set forth by FOIA laws implemented by state and Federal governments.

As a result of several other disputes regarding subsequent FOIA requests, three additional lawsuits were filed by Kraft throughout 2017, with the newest FOIA lawsuit filed in August 2018.

The judge in the case, the Hon. Ryan Cadigan, moved the hearing to Carlinville from Springfield, citing that as a matter of disclosure, the people of the city should have to right to know what’s going on in their own city government.

During the March 25 hearing, city attorney Dan O’Brien requested additional time as he assumed the case from previous counsel Dan Schuering. Kraft counsel Josh Burday of Chicago’s Loevy and Loevy considered it a reasonable request, allowing for another delay in the two-year-old lawsuit.

Cadigan will preside over the hearing April 26 in Macoupin County court at 10:00 a.m.

Jake Leonard is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed and GM/program director of the Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network. Leonard is also general manager of Heartland Internet Media Networks and an active contributor to four newspapers for Pana News Group.

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