NFOIC supports open government lawsuit in Washington state

Resident claims that King County Housing Authority has established a nonprofit shadow organization to carry out its programs while circumventing the Open Public Meetings Act and Public Records Act.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (April 23, 2013) – With support from the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) and Knight FOI Fund, a public housing resident in suburban Seattle filed a lawsuit today accusing a local housing authority of repeatedly violating Washington state’s public disclosure and open meeting laws.

Cindy Ference, who lives in a King County Housing Authority complex for senior and disabled people in Shoreline, Wa., brought the action after discovering that the Housing Authority has set up an allegedly private nonprofit organization to carry out its programs without public oversight. The shadow organization, called Moving King County Residents Forward, has the same governing board, the same staff and the same offices as the Housing Authority.

The lawsuit alleges that the scheme results in repeated violations of Washington state’s Open Public Meetings Act and Public Records Act, and seeks an injunction to stop the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners from meeting privately in its dual capacity as a nonprofit organization’s board.

See the release in its entirety and link to lawsuit here.