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July 28, 2014, 9:36 pm
970 WMAY News

Council Will Vote on FOIA Shred Settlement on Debate Agenda


The Springfield City Council will consider the six figure settlement in the internal affairs file shred case on next week's debate agenda.  Aldermen discussed getting more access to various exhibits mentioned in depositions.

 

Ward 5's Sam Cahnman said he would recuse himself from discussing or voting on the case. It was revealed last week that Cahnman represented the plaintiff in a traffic case that is included in a police harassment case Calvin Christian brought against the city in federal court. Christian says he filed for a substitute attorney to replace Cahnman's representation in the traffic case Tuesday afternoon.

 

The Pure News reporter is suing the city for the destruction of internal affairs files he requested from Springfield Police. The settlement in front of aldermen would pay Christian and the attorneys from offices of Don Craven and John Meyer over $100,000.

 

Meanwhile, a move to release the executive session recordings of a discussion about the possible privatization Oak Ridge Cemetery is being held back after the city's Corporation Counsel urged the vote be postponed because of pending legal matters.

 

McMenamin moved to amend the ordinance to release only the minutes and recordings of the meeting pertaining to the discussion of possible Oak Ridge Cemetery privatization.

 

Alderman Gail Simpson says that "right, wrong or indifferent," the council should follow recommendations from city attorneys.  Ward 1's Frank Edwards said the ordinance should be held back.

 

McMenamin, who has 35 years of legal experience, says he's acting as an alderman pushing for more transparency. He also notes that that the city's corporation counsel's office doesn't have a great track record.

 

The amendment passed, but the ordinance failed to get out of committee and could be brought back up for a committee vote in the future.

 

Bruce Rushton, a reporter for the Illinois Times, has a civil suit against the city claiming a violation of the open meetings act. Corporation Counsel John Mehlick says that the case will be in front of a judge Thursday. Rushton also has filed a criminal complaint against the city, which has been sent to the State's Attorney's office.

 

The issue of Privatizing Oak Ridge Cemetery was taken off the table after several aldermen stated they would never vote for handing over operations to any entity outside the city.

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