By Scott Tibbs, April 11, 2014
How can it be that financial records that were open to the public by force of state law just three months ago suddenly be closed to the public and the media because they are critical for an investigation by law enforcement? The Herald-Times is in a dispute with the Kruzan administration over a records request related to alleged crimes by a city employee:
|Those records include emails as well as the bids, contracts and invoices involving concrete projects under the direction of Justin Wykoff, the city employee who was charged early this month in connection with the embezzlement of $800,000. As noted in an earlier column, the city legal department told The H-T it would not release some of the records because they are "investigatory records" exempted from the Access to Public Records Act.|
Here are a few questions that demonstrates the absurdity of the Kruzan administration's argument that the records should be sealed: What if the Herald-Times or even an enterprising blogger had requested and gotten the records three months ago? What if the newspaper (or that blogger) had scanned and saved the documents to PDF and posted them online? Would those records be seized by law enforcement? Would the Kruzan administration's legal department file a lawsuit to take down the records?
The Kruzan administration's argument is weaker than a wall made of tissue paper. It is absolutely absurd that the nature of the city's financial records would change simply because law enforcement is examining them. Would the Kruzan administration argue that city financial records should be sealed during an audit by the State Board of Accounts?
The voters need to remember this in 2015.