The Town of Geneseo has again claimed it can not find records of communications with representatives of Newman Development pertaining to the drafting of the Planned Development District law in 2005. PDDG had previously sued the Town in an Article 78 proceeding to obtain copies of certain specific correspondence referenced in the billing records of town attorneys Underberg and Kessler.
When that lawsuit was dismissed recently, UK attorney Jim Coniglio was quoted in the Livingston County News as saying that the idea the Newman wrote the PDD law was “ludicrous.” He then stated that Newman had actually criticized the law while it was still in draft form. Taking that claim as a starting point, Bill Lofquist of PDDG submitted a new FOIL request for all correspondence between Newman and the town.
The difference between this new request and the previous one is that it did seek specific documents, thought to exist, but all documents that might exist, however, the result was the same. The town claimed it could not find any new documents that fit the request.
Lofquist has now appealed that ruling in a letter which is posted as this week’s “Preserving Small Towns” column.
In the column Lofquist writes, “It is simply inconceivable to me that there is not a single item of correspondence between Newman and the Town related to the drafting or content of the PDD law. Further, it is clear under state law that any such correspondence, pertaining as it does to a matter of public policy, must be retained permanently. The result is a conclusion that the Town is either withholding records in violation of FOIL or has destroyed significant public records in violation of the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law (Article 57A, the Local Government Records Law).”