AG is Reviewing DeKalb’s Denial of Information to Neighborhood Rep


The Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor (PAC) has agreed to examine a City of DeKalb denial of information to a representative of a neighborhood group.

Here’s the usual drill. Upon the PAC accepting a Request for Review it invites the public body to respond with the legal basis for denial. The response is shared with requester, who gets a chance to respond to the response. PAC eventually delivers an opinion about whether the denial was legal under FOIA.

What’s unusual here is that the city is requesting that its response be kept wholly confidential. That’s right; DeKalb doesn’t want the requester to see any part of it.

Preserve Our Neighborhoods (PON) representative Misty Haji-Sheikh requested records associated with the weirdly unfeasible but apparently deadly serious corporation called College Town Partners. Since NIU and City of DeKalb were proposed partners of CPT, Haji-Sheikh made FOIA requests of both bodies. The city denied some records, claiming an exemption for preliminary drafts.

What usually happens when the PAC accepts a Request for Review is that the public body gets seven business days to defend whatever exemption(s) to FOIA it’s claiming, and then the requester gets the option to respond to the response.

But in the case of the College Town Partners FOIA, DeKalb thinks its entire response to the Request for Review should be kept confidential.

Did the Haji-Sheikhs plan to respond?