Farinelli, 040819 RIAGO, AGO PR 19-04

Docket Nº:AGO PR 19-04
Case Date:April 08, 2019
Court:Rhode Island
Michael Farinelli
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.          Michael Farinelli          City of Providence          RE: Farinelli v. City of Providence          Dear Mr. Farinelli and Ms. Schaub:          The 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.          We 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.          The 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.          Thereafter 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 reports.          In 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...

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