New Jersey’s public records fights prove costly

New Jersey taxpayers are on the hook for more than $1 million for the state’s failed attempts to keep records secret over the last four years, according to data obtained by The Associated Press.

The information, obtained through the state’s Open Public Records Act, shows that the state paid out $1,076,013 in taxpayer money reimbursing plaintiffs’ lawyers fees in 54 cases from January 2012 through March 4.

That includes $360,780 from 12 cases in which individuals and media organizations successfully fought decisions by Gov. Chris Christie’s office not to release information. Other cases involved requesters forced to go to court to get information from the state police, Department of Education and other state agencies. Continue…