Public Access Opinion 19-011

Duty to Respond to FOIA Requests

Freedom of Information Act - FOIA
Case: Public Access Opinion 19-011
Date: Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Cook County Assessor’s Office (Assessor) violated Section 3(d) of FOIA by failing to respond to a FOIA request.

Requestor emailed a FOIA request to the Assessor on July 9, 2019, seeking “all applications for permits, permits, denials of permits and correspondence related to” five properties located in Lincolnwood, Illinois from January 1, 1950 to July 9, 2019. Requestor did not receive a response to his request.

On July 26, 2019, Requestor submitted a Request for Review to the PAC, alleging that the Assessor failed to respond to his FOIA request. On August 1, 2019, the PAC forwarded a copy of the Request for Review to the Assessor and asked the Assessor whether or not it had received and responded to Requestor’s request. The Assessor did not respond to the PAC. As of the date this binding opinion, neither Requestor nor the PAC had received a response from the Assessor’s Office.

Section 3(d) of FOIA states that “each public body shall, promptly, either comply with or deny a request for public records within 5 business days after its receipt of the request…” Because the Assessor did not comply with Section 3(d), the PAC ordered the Assessor to take immediate and appropriate action to provide Requestor with all records responsive to his request, subject only to permissible redactions.

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