IL: Appellate court affirms AG ruling that housing group’s records subject to FOIA

SPRINGFIELD — The Fourth District Appellate Court has affirmed a lower court’s decision agreeing with an opinion issued by Attorney General Lisa Madigan that documents from a group founded to improve housing conditions in Danville are public record and fall under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

“The binding opinion issued by the Attorney General is considered a ‘final decision of an administrative agency, for purposes of administrative review under the Administrative Review Law,’” according to the ruling issued March 28. Justice Thomas Harris wrote the opinion, with Justice Lisa Holder White and Justice Craig DeArmond concurring.

In 2015, Danville resident and landlord Kevin Flynn requested documents from the city related to the Housing Task Force. The Housing Task Force was created in 2014 and was made up of community members and city officials. The objective of the organization was “to develop strategic goals and objectives to improve housing conditions within the community” after the city suffered a population loss, according to information in the ruling.

In his FOIA request, Flynn asked for records such as minutes from the task force’s meetings, notices of when meetings were to be held, correspondence and reports. The city denied Flynn’s request the same day he sent it, stating that the Housing Task Force was not a public body subject to the FOIA, so its records were not available to the public. Read more…