Public Access Opinion 18-014

Duty to Respond to FOIA Requests

Freedom of Information Act - FOIA
Case: Public Access Opinion 18-014
Date: Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Cook County Assessor’s Office (Assessor’s Office) violated FOIA by failing to comply with, deny in whole or in part, or otherwise appropriately respond to a FOIA request. On June 22, 2018, the Requestor submitted a FOIA request for certain information regarding 2017 property tax exemptions for a specific property. Receiving no response by July 11, 2018, the Requestor contacted the PAC. The PAC sent two letters to the Assessor’s Office but received no response. Then, On August 2, 2018, the Assessor’s Office’s FOIA Officer spoke to a PAC attorney and assured the PAC it would respond. As of October 18, 2018, the Assessor’s Office had not responded to the PAC.

The PAC held that the Assessor’s Office violated Section 3(d) of FOIA by failing, within five business days after receiving the June 22, 2018 FOIA request, to provide the requested records, extend the time for its response pursuant to Section 3(e) of FOIA, or deny the request in whole or in part. The PAC ordered the Assessor’s Office to provide the Requestor with all responsive records, subject to appropriate exemptions under Section 7 of FOIA.

This opinion is binding only to the parties involved and may be appealed pursuant to State law.