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August 9, 2000

Mr. Ruben Perez
City Attorney
City of Kingsville
P. O. Box 1458
Kingsville, Texas 78364

OR2000-3037

Dear Mr. Perez:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 138018.

The City of Kingsville (the "city") received a request for the identity of an individual who made a complaint regarding the requestor's property. You claim that the requested information is excepted from disclosure under section 552.108 of the Government Code. You have not provided any responsive information to this office fore review.

A governmental body that wishes to withhold requested information must, no later than fifteen business days after the governmental body receives the written request for information, provide to the Attorney General a copy of the specific information requested, or a representative sample thereof, labeled to indicate which exceptions apply to which parts of the information. Gov't Code 552.301(e). If the governmental body does not comply with the requirements of Government Code section 552.301, the requested information is presumed to be subject to required public disclosure and must be released unless there is a compelling reason to withhold the information. Gov't Code 552.302. You indicate that the subject request is dated June 2, 2000. Your request for decision from this office was received on June 12, 2000. You have not submitted any information which is responsive to the request for information. The information is therefore presumed public and must be released unless there is a compelling reason to withhold the information. Here, you raise section 552.108 to protect the interests of the city. We conclude that you have not demonstrated a compelling reason to withhold the responsive information. See Open Record Decision No. 586 (1991). Therefore, the responsive information must be released to the requestor.

This letter ruling is limited to the particular records at issue in this request and limited to the facts as presented to us; therefore, this ruling must not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records or any other circumstances.

This ruling triggers important deadlines regarding the rights and responsibilities of the governmental body and of the requestor. For example, governmental bodies are prohibited from asking the attorney general to reconsider this ruling. Gov't Code 552.301(f). If the governmental body wants to challenge this ruling, the governmental body must appeal by filing suit in Travis County within 30 calendar days. Id. 552.324(b). In order to get the full benefit of such an appeal, the governmental body must file suit within 10 calendar days. Id. 552.353(b)(3), (c). If the governmental body does not appeal this ruling and the governmental body does not comply with it, then both the requestor and the attorney general have the right to file suit against the governmental body to enforce this ruling. Id. 552.321(a).

If this ruling requires the governmental body to release all or part of the requested information, the governmental body is responsible for taking the next step. Based on the statute, the attorney general expects that, within 10 calendar days of this ruling, the governmental body will do one of the following three things: 1) release the public records; 2) notify the requestor of the exact day, time, and place that copies of the records will be provided or that the records can be inspected; or 3) notify the requestor of the governmental body's intent to challenge this letter ruling in court. If the governmental body fails to do one of these three things within 10 calendar days of this ruling, then the requestor should report that failure to the attorney general's Open Government Hotline, toll free, at 877/673-6839. The requestor may also file a complaint with the district or county attorney. Id. 552.3215(e).

If this ruling requires or permits the governmental body to withhold all or some of the requested information, the requestor can appeal that decision by suing the governmental body. Id. 552.321(a); Texas Department of Public Safety v. Gilbreath, 842 S.W.2d 408,411 (Tex. App.-Austin 1992, no writ).

If the governmental body, the requestor, or any other person has questions or comments about this ruling, they may contact our office. Although there is no statutory deadline for contacting us, the attorney general prefers to receive any comments within 10 calendar days of the date of this ruling.

Sincerely,

Michael Jay Burns
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

MJB/er

Ref: ID# 138018

Encl Submitted documents

cc: Mr. Johnny G. Smolik
102 Briarwood
Kingsville, Texas 78363
(w/o enclosures)


 

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