Village of Robbins Attempts to Thwart The Southland Journal’s FOIA Request; Argument Doesn’t Apply to Media

Village of Robbins Attempts to Thwart The Southland Journal's FOIA Request; Argument Doesn't Apply to Media
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Village of Robbins Attempts to Thwart The Southland Journal’s FOIA Request; Argument Doesn’t Apply to Media (Robbins, IL) — The Southland Journal sent a series of FOIA requests to the Village of Robbins last week for a variety of records related to certain communications, meeting recordings, spending, employment, and grants/loans received. Later, the village responded with an argument stating that the requests are “unduly burdensome,” and said that the number of requests made — a total of 7 — met the requirements of a “repeated requester.” They requested that the scope be narrowed, however, pursuant to Section 140/2(g) of the 5 ILCS 140 (Freedom of Information Act), FOIA requests made from news media cannot be considered to be unduly burdensome. That section of code is cited below:

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Prairie State College
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Prairie State College

“For purposes of this definition, requests made by news media and non-profit, scientific, or academic organizations shall not be considered in calculating the number of requests made in the time periods in this definition when the principal purpose of the requests is (i) to access and disseminate information concerning news and current or passing events, (ii) for articles of opinion or features of interest to the public, or (iii) for the purpose of academic, scientific, or public research or education.”

On September 16, 2022, The Southland Journal made requests for the following information:

  • All electronic communications, including emails and text messages between Marvin Wells and any/all village employees, village representatives, or village elected officials
  • All invoices from, and payments made to, the City of Chicago for water services from April 1, 2021 to present
  • All credit card, debit card, and bank statements for the Village of Robbins dated January 1, 2022 to present
  • Verbatim recording of October 26, 2021 meeting, including the closed session meeting verbatim recording that was determined to be “plainly improper” by the Illinois Attorney General

On September 20, 2022, The Southland Journal made requests for the following information:

  • All documentation regarding grant and loan monies awarded to/received by the Village of Robbins, including award letters, disbursement records, and all other documentation, since January 1, 2019
  • All documentation regarding water meter installation throughout the village, including invoices paid for water meter purchases, outstanding invoices for water meters, addresses where meters are still to be installed, and a list of where the meters have already been installed
  • A current list of all village employees and their position

Village of Robbins Attempts to Thwart The Southland Journal’s FOIA Request; Argument Doesn’t Apply to Media

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Monica Gordon for Cook County Commissioner

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