AGO PR 19-04
No. PR 19-04
Rhode Island Attorney General Opinion
State of Rhode Island And Providence Plantations
April 8, 2019
Etie-Lee Schaub, Esq.
Farinelli v. City of Providence
Mr. Farinelli and Ms. Schaub:
investigation into the Access to Public Records Act
("APRA") Complaint filed by Mr. Michael Farinelli
("Mr. Farinelli" or "Complainant")
against the City of Providence ("City") is
complete. For the reasons set forth herein, we find that the
City violated the APRA by railing to either provide the
Complainant with the documents responsive to the request or
provide an amended estimate of the prepayment cost required
to complete the request.
begin by summarizing the background and facts. The
Complainant made an APRA request to the City seeking the last
year of completed Providence Police Department internal
affairs reports. The City responded by estimating that it
would take four hours to locate and compile the records -
excluding review and redaction - and cost $45.00. The
Complainant then tendered the requested prepayment.
City subsequently notified the Complainant that after
spending over four hours locating and compiling records, it
had only retrieved two months of internal affairs reports.
The City estimated that it would take an additional nine
hours to review and potentially redact these two months'
worth of reports and requested prepayment of $135.00. The
City did not produce any records pertaining to the other ten
months requested, or provide an estimate for the search,
retrieval, review, and redaction of those records.
the Complainant filed the instant Complaint asserting that
the City's original estimate of $45.00 was unreasonable.
The Complaint also contended that the City re-characterized
the APRA request as seeking only two months of internal
affairs reports and did not provide an estimate for
completing the entire request for a year of internal affairs
response to the Complaint, Associate City Solicitor Etie-Lee
Z. Schaub, Esquire, submitted a substantive response that
included affidavits from Ethics Commission Coordinator Rosa
E. Arias-Perry and Police Department Captain Alyssa
DeAndrade. The submissions explained that it was difficult to
predict how many internal affairs reports were completed and
that responding to the request required individually
searching each internal affairs report. The City also stated
that it had not intended to alter the...