FOIA Funnies

By:  Diane Benjamin I received a large FOIA from the City of Bloomington this week.  They extended the usual 5 days to 10 and then attempted to extend it even further.  I refused their request. When I FOIA for emails what I get is the same emails numerous times.  Each time there is a response […]

Connect Transit fails FOIA

By:  Diane Benjamin On August 29th I filed a FOIA request with Connect Transit: Smart Growth America is the “facilitator” they hired for the Working Group in June of 2019.  See this WGLT story – $53,000 First Response to the FOIA: The due date of September 6th was extended 5 days. Next I got […]

Maybe the last Valente story, maybe not

By:  Diane Benjamin If you missed any of the first three stories, see them  HERE (Videos)  and  HERE (Phone Message) and  HERE (Emails) Judy Valente had settled down until the videos were published I obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.  Besides the phone message above, she also emailed Chief Woodruff.  She is no longer calling him Aaron.  […]

Update: FOIA filed

See what they were hiding here: By:  Diane Benjamin I wouldn’t have to file so many FOIA requests with Bloomington if the information actually got posted to their website.  Many are THEIR fault: This was filed today. I wonder if the Council knows what they are approving for payment tonight?  9 hours before the meeting, […]

Atlanta Library: FOIA exposure

By:  Diane Benjamin The Freedom of Information Act clearly states the personal information can be redacted.  Employees have a right to not have their Social Security thrown around the Internet! The Atlanta Public Library doesn’t understand that simple concept.  The following was sent to a citizen who FOIA’d wages paid.  That citizen partially redacted the […]

Chambers needs to explain

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve contacted the States Attorney’s office several times about public corruption cases.  I recently received this email from one of their interns: Got that?  Seems pretty clear – the States Attorney’s office doesn’t do investigations! Now see this Pantagraph story about the tragic deaths yesterday: Excerpt from the story: Maybe Jason […]

FOIA Failures

By:  Diane Benjamin No, transparency doesn’t exist in Bloomington! This FOIA request was made on July 31st.  I did receive the information on the dinner at Lucca Grill, I have not received the names of the people money was paid to IACE Travel for.  A second request on August 10th and a third request on […]

More Bloomington stalling:

By:  Diane Benjamin Another extension by the City of Bloomington: Maybe the people the City hires just get paid a lot but aren’t very smart.  Maybe somebody at the City is micromanaging everything that happens – even following the law! Link to the FOIA law: There are no exceptions for redacting who got their […]

UPDATE: Another Bloomington FOIA failure

Today I got this response: Obviously there is no reason why this lame response couldn’t have been given within the 5 days allowed by law. The Grove information came from this document dated February 2015: Since many more houses have been built at the Grove since 2015 – Tari is relying on old information. […]

Bloomington Fails FOIA

By:  Diane Benjamin This isn’t the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last for the City of Bloomington employees to not care about the law.  Lavish salary and benefits frequently make people think they aren’t answerable to the people who make both happen.  Bloomington employees feel entitled to secrecy and therefore do […]

Chicago forced to stop using Private Email

BGA Forces Release Of Mayor Rahm Emanuel Private Emails, Garners Landmark Policy Shift As a result of a BGA investigation and legal action, The City of Chicago and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have agreed to release all of Emanuel’s private emails related to city business—subject to any applicable legal exemptions—and institute a new policy that will […]

Danvers is the latest!

By:  Diane Benjamin In the last two weeks I have been contacted by many people in small towns surrounding Bloomington-Normal.  They are tired of being abused by their government while information on spending is hidden. The latest to contact me is Danvers.  The citizens have a new FACEBOOK page to spread information since Danvers doesn’t […]

BGA on Madigan’s Public Access

I was interviewed for this story WEEKS ago, glad to see this is STATE problem.  The story is published on the Better Government Association website: Illinois FOIA Appeals Linger With No End In Sight Lengthy appeals process, non-binding decisions hamper ability to obtain records through Illinois Freedom of Information Act. After Edgar County corrections […]

Bloomington needs to know what transparency is

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington included a newsletter with October Water/Sewer/Garbage bills.  You can see it here:  HERE There are a number of problems with the newsletter.  I wonder whose job it is to put it together and include it with the bills.  The Communications Director? First, the newsletter sent in October is […]

UPDATE: Court again on Monday

Both the City Attorneys and CIAM’s Attorneys have filed motions to dismiss. I have a surprise for them on Monday! ______________________________________________ By:  Diane Benjamin Monday is yet another court date for my lawsuit against the City of Bloomington and Central Illinois Arena Management (CIAM) as an intervening party. Judge Foley gave the City and […]

Transparent? More lawsuits needed!

By:  Diane Benjamin The City of Bloomington still doesn’t believe laws matter. From the Attorney General’s website: It is the public policy of this State that public bodies exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business and that the people have a right to be informed as to the conduct of their […]

Bloomington finally gets it

By:  Diane Benjamin Scrolling through the documentation for tonight’s Bloomington City Council meeting, I found this on Page 47: This section is included on a contract to purchase water purification chemicals.  Yes, the Freedom of Information law applies to contractors! My lawsuit against the City was based on this statement. The City is now […]

Now for the Court Update!

By:  Diane Benjamin Ever heard of lawyers dragging on a case hoping you quit? I dragged it on long enough for CIAM quit! Brief recap: I filed the lawsuit when it became obvious the City NEVER checked to see if concession revenue at the Coliseum was paid according to the contract.  It was also apparent […]

Really STUPID government

By:  Diane Benjamin Back in December I wrote about a confidentiality agreement the Clark County Park District forced John Kraft from Edgar County Watchdogs to sign.  You can see it here: The Park District thought they could bury the settlement with a stupid statement signed by John.  Evidently they forgot the check issued to […]

Court Update :)

By:  Diane Benjamin Today I was in court again with my case against the City of Bloomington concerning the Coliseum.  This time the City declared they won’t fight my rights to the documents, but they don’t have them. The lawyer for CIAM must not know Executive Sessions (the City’s secret meetings) are supposed to be […]

CIRA: Part 2

By:  Diane Benjamin The first time I sent a FOIA request to the airport for payroll, I received Medicare Wages: I did another request for the full salary and benefits paid to the airport manager, Carl Olson.  The original request shows Medicare Wages of  $175,710.68 I received this the second time:  (click to enlarge) […]

Abuse by the City of Bloomington!

By:  Diane Benjamin I find it hilarious that last night the Bloomington City Council held one of their SECRET meetings with “pending litigation” on the agenda: Today the City lawyers have a new strategy.  I received this email this morning:  (click to enlarge it) The last time we were in court, Mr. Boyle claimed […]

Another lawsuit Bloomington?

By:  Diane Benjamin I’ve said this many times, but I will repeat it again.  If I send a Freedom of Information request to Normal I actually get the information I want.  No games, no attempting to circumvent the rules, just transparency. Bloomington will HIDE, IGNORE, PRETEND the rules don’t matter, and go to any lengths […]

Stanford: Where’s your money?

By:  Diane Benjamin First, why is the Freedom of Information officer for Stanford a lawyer?  How much is it costing taxpayers to get information through a lawyer that you are entitled to under the law?  Is the FOIA officer a lawyer to hide information? Stanford residents have been paying an extra $5 per month tacked […]

Another COURT update

By:  Diane Benjamin Today I was in court again for my lawsuit against the City of Bloomington – it’s either #4 or #5 (losing track).  The judge has promised to issue a ruling on January 28th. City Attorney Rosalee Dodson is no longer with the City, at least that’s what the substitute said.  No explanation […]

Coliseum – another lawsuit

By:  Diane Benjamin The truth about the Coliseum has been hidden from the taxpayers for years.  It was intentional, even the City Council is in the dark.  John Butler’s BMI Concessions is an even bigger secret.  Butler set up a business inside a City owned asset, complete with a contract requiring set percentages of sales […]

More hiding documents from Mayor Transparency

By:  Diane Benjamin Below is the other Freedom of Information Act request I filed in October that was completely ignored by the City of Bloomington (Tari Renner).  I spoke about this one at Monday’s Council meeting, see the video posted yesterday. __________________________________________________________________ Diane Benjamin <[email protected]>                    Oct 27 […]

Hey City of Bloomington:

It’s now a Class 4 felony to hide public records in Illinois 30 Aug 2014 | Brian Costin – See more at: It’s not all bad news in Illinois. Sometimes our politicians get it right. Illinois lawmakers have made it a Class 4 felony to intentionally hide public records from the public. House Bill […]

Watchdogs sue the State of Illinois and WIN!

by:  Diane Benjamin The State of Illinois isn’t any more transparent than Bloomington.  I worked with the Edgar County Watchdogs for close to a year to uncover the state’s activities with Medicaid payment processing.  Many FOIA requests were returned to us with a “No matching documents” label.  The State didn’t know that we have many […]

Judges know FOIA law, maybe Lisa Madigan is too busy

by:  Diane Benjamin I don’t have to file with Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s Office when local government refuses to comply with Freedom of Information Act Requests or when they violate the Open Meetings Act, there are other avenues.  The Illinois Public Access Office was created so citizens had an outlet to keep their government open […]

Bloomington: Investigated again

by:  Diane Benjamin Bloomington is being investigated again by the Attorney General – this time for illegally redacting emails.  I wrote this post explaining part of my claim: I sent that information to the Attorney General, but there is more to my complaint.  The email from Normal City Manager Mark Petersen was not the […]

Health department to pay $1,000 to watchdog group, admit FOIA violations

Thu, 09/19/2013 – 5:03pm | Will Brumleve WATSEKA — The Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department will be required to pay more than $1,000 to a nonprofit watchdog group — and acknowledge that two officials violated the Freedom of Information Act — as conditions of settling two lawsuits filed by the group over the agency’s denial of requests for […]