Less then 24 hours after I sent the FOIA request in regards to Pokemon Go problems in the park bordering residents property, the city attorney called me. I was instructed I needed to change the language of the information I am seeking, also telling me I do know how much this is going to cost me. Reiterating how expensive the process is. I thought this was odd considering I am not asking for anything involving law enforcement, HIPPA related or W-2's form anyone. I revised my language, and resent the request. Next day, they file for a 10-day extension. A few days later the city attorney called and wanted to know if we heard anything about the FOIA request, I told him no.
Yesterday, I receive a phone call from the city attorney and was requesting to come to our home to talk about the FOIA request. He said that there are 11,000 pages in emails and the mayor told him to go through all of it. This will cost about $9,000. He wants me to revise my language yet again and meet with him and the IT person tomorrow at city hall. I asked him if this is for public or commercial interest and he said public. I asked him about a waiver and he danced around it.
Something just doesn't add up.
I am at a disadvantage because I am not looking at your request. However, it is normal to ask for an extension and the law does allow for reasonable costs to be assessed. I am not sure what the problem is, but he seems to be suggesting that the wording of your request means that you are going to get a lot of documents unrelated to what you are looking for. It seems harmless to me that you would go tell him what you are looking for. However, it would be cheaper to take an attorney with you, or hire one to work with the FOIA request revision than to pay 9k for stuff you don't care about.
In answering this question, it is not intended that an attorney-client relationship is formed and the information is for general reference only. I am licensed in Michigan and Florida and offer no legal advice outside of those states.
It appears that they are attempting to narrow your request in a manner to give you the information you have requested and not run up a huge bill to provide you with a lot of information which is not what you are seeking. I would go to the meeting and see what results. Engaging an attorney to assist you might be a very wise move.
To the PROSPECTIVE client, please call with more details, and for an appointment. My PRELIMINARY answer to your question(s) is for general purposes and based upon the information you have conveyed. It is based on such limited information that it is a general answer, and should not be relied upon as a reason for your action or inaction. My response does NOT establish an attorney-client relationship and such may only be established by mutual agreement, and the signing of a written retainer agreement, which will generally require payment for our services, as this is what we do for a living and, just like you, we must get paid for our work.
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