In a response prepared by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, it was found that the City of Nauvoo has not complied with the Freedom of Information Act in regards to requests submitted by us on February 28, 2017. We have long contended that the Hotel Motel Board is in fact a public body, and part of Nauvoo City Government. The Attorney General concurs, stating:
“the available information indicates that the Board ( 1) was created by the City and does not have a legal existence independent of the City as an entity, such as a not- for-profit corporation does; ( 2) the Board performs a public function delegated to it by the City; and ( 3) the Board is subject to a significant degree of control by the City. Applying the factors in Hopf, this office concludes that the Board is a subsidiary body of the City.”
With regards to our request to receive contracts related to the Hotel Motel Board (and other departments of the City), the Attorney General also supports our contention that they must be provided to us:
“the City cannot evade its fundamental obligation under FOIA to provide records where, as here, a FOIA request is directed to the City for records concerning the Board, whose members the City Council approves and whose operations the City oversees.”
Other elements of our request for review were also supported relating to lost documents, missing meeting minutes, etc. and instructed the City to “conduct an appropriate search for the tourism director’ s contract, minutes of the April 3, 2012, April 23, 2012, and April 27, 2012, Board meetings, and Board employee expenses and disclose all responsive records…”
We expect the City to comply quickly with the Attorney General’s instructions, and will post the responsive documents here. This should put to rest the contention that the Hotel Motel Board is not part of the City, and a restructuring of how it operates and how contracts are granted should begin immediately. There are other FOIA requests where the City has refused to provide documents, stating a desire to await this opinion (related to Hotel Motel finances, and how funds are collected and disbursed) and how meetings are conducted (see our outstanding Open Meetings Act Violation). The City now must provide all documents requested.
This will also allow for a more detailed analysis of conflict of interest issues associated with this body.
The full opinion follows: