Rhode Island AG targets mayor's office for withholding records

Stacey Laskin | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | July 17, 2008

The attorney general of Rhode Island filed a lawsuit against the city of Cranston on Wednesday over alleged violations of the state's public records law, The Providence Journal reported. 

Patrick Lynch is suing on behalf of a local radio disc jockey who waited months for the city to produce records on long-distance phone calls and other matters, The Journal said. The disc jockey, John Bina, is currently running for a position on the city council.

City officials told the paper they plan to fight the lawsuit and accompanying fine of up to $1,000.

Bina filed the records request under the state's Access to Public Records Act to investigate rumors of wasteful spending in the office of Mayor Michael T. Napolitano, The Journal reported.

Although the state law requires officials to respond within 10 days, Bina did not receive any documents from the city until he filed a complaint with the attorney general’s office. That was three months later.

City Solicitor Vito L. Sciolto told The Journal that “limited resources,” not political motivations caused the delay in response to Bina’s request.