School Board Records
Admits Some Documents Exist
In First Acknowledgement Of Retainer
Agreement With Howd & Ludorf
FOI Complaint To Follow In Coming Days
Message Left With Business Manager Today At 4:15 p.m.
Editor's note: In this response, Chinni again takes issue with recitation of aspects of the FOI law and the statute governing document destruction, characterizing them as "threatening." A reasonable person might surmise this is a deepening manifestation of consciousness of guilt.
The law demands prompt production of public records. It doesn't allow for documents to be hidden or for portions of requests to be ignored. When that happens, violators get fined or sanctioned. Of course, for some, stonewalling can be a lucrative endeavor. Would prompt disclosure, production and candor cause such a bad result for the immediate client? Remember, the taxpayers of Burlington, Harwinton and all of Connecticut are the ultimate clients, and they are picking up the tab. Makes you wonder what kinds of fees lawyers in other towns are racking up in the public education trough …
Finally, regarding Chinni's admonition in the final paragraph, why would anyone in their right mind take charm school lessons from someone whose acquaintance with the truth is, well, apparently marginal at best. This is the same person who said there were no write-in votes and there was no retainer agreement. Who knows what records are still hidden or what might have been destroyed or otherwise doctored?
Letter To A. Thibault
Re; FOI Request
From: Atty. Christine Chinni
Chinni & Meuser LLC
30 Avon Meadow Lane
Avon, CT 06001
Re; Your request to the Regional District No. 10 Pursuant to the
Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, Dated August 17, 2007
August 17, 2007
As you know, this firm represents the Board of Education for Regional District Number 10 (the "Board") in general matters. The Superintendent of the Region 10 Public Schools is not in the office this afternoon. David Lenihan, the Board's Business Manager, has forwarded the above-described request to us for a response.
First, the Board does not possess any retainer agreement, indemnification clause, retainer check or other checks or invoices, or meeting minutes from Howd & Ludorf regarding the Doninger civil rights lawsuit. The Board is not a party to the retainer agreement between Howd & Ludorf and Massamont Insurance, and does not possess and never has possessed a copy of that agreement. Neither Massamont Insurance nor Howd & Ludorf is a public agency, and their agreement is not subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. Any correspondence between Mrs. Schwartz and / or Ms. Niehoff and Howd & Ludorf regarding this matter is exempt from disclosure pursuant to the attorney-client privilege.
The Board does possess a letter regarding its insurance coverage in the Doninger civil rights lawsuit. If you would like to obtain a copy of that letter today, please contact David Lenihan at 673-2538 and arrange to pay for and pick up a copy of the letter.
The Board has in its possession several other documents that are responsive to your request, including: a copy of the bill it received from Massamont Insurance for the first quarter of the 2007-2008 school year, and documentation that the board has paid that bill; copies of bills and documentation of payment of bills from Massamont Insurance in previous years; and a copy of the insurance policy previously in effect between Massamont Insurance and the Board. These documents cannot be made available to you today, but, if you would like copies of them, please contact Mr. Lenihan and he will arrange to have the documents copied for you. His office will contact you when the copies are ready.
As both the superintendent and I have previously informed you, the Board intends to charge you for any and all documents provided to you pursuant to your requests, at the rate set forth in the Board's policy.
Finally, Mr. Lenihan finds the threatening tone of your letter, and the allegation contained therein that records maybe have been destroyed, unnecessary, offensive and inappropriate.
Christine L. Chinni
Cc. Paula Schwartz