Detroit Free Press Sues After City Demands $222,667 to Release Public Documents

August 07, 2020, 5:55 AM

Here's one way to sabatoge transparency in government: Charge a ridiculous amount to give public records to the media.

Dr. Sonia Hassan and Mayor Mike Duggan

The city of Detroit wants to charge the Detroit Free Press $222,667 for all public records connected to a city watchdog's investigation that concluded Mayor Mike Duggan gave preferential treatment to a prenatal health program run by Dr. Donia Hassan, who he reportedly was romantically linked to.

The Freep says it requested the records under the Freedom of Information Act in 2019. Last fall, the city granted the request, but said it wanted the money and would need three years for its legal staff to review about 400,000 pages.

Rather than pay, the paper is suing:

By charging such substantial fees and delaying the release of the records for three years, the Free Press' attorney argued that the city effectively denied the FOIA request in violation of the state's public records law, adding that the fees and wait time are "clearly intended to chill the public's right of access to public records.

Read more:  Detroit Free Press

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