Although he’s no longer a mayoral candidate, the public records lawsuit filed by Eric Robert during his mayoral campaign continues on its course.
Greensboro Senior Assistant City Attorney Tony Baker filed an answer on behalf of the City of Greensboro to Robert’s lawsuit in North Carolina Superior Court last week, asking that the case be dismissed.
Robert, who is not an attorney, is representing himself, and the lawsuit against Mayor Nancy Vaughan, City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba and the City of Greensboro alleges that Greensboro violated the North Carolina public records law by
“a. failing or refusing to furnish requestors with copies of requested public records “as promptly as possible” on multiples of requests.
“b. failing or refusing to permit the inspection an examination of public records at reasonable times and under reasonable supervision;
“c. denying or concealing the existence of public records on multiples of items.
“d. redacting documents to conceal content from specific sender/individual.”
The response from the city to these particular allegations in paragraph 10 is simply “Denied.”
In the answer the city denies just about everything alleged in the lawsuit with the exception of facts such as that Nancy Vaughan is the mayor of Greensboro, Tai Jaiyeoba is the city manager and that the North Carolina public records law is quoted accurately.
The answer from the City of Greensboro states, “Plaintiff’s requests were extremely broad and encompassed numerous emails, each of which had to be reviewed for information that may not have been relevant to Plaintiff’s request or be subject to release under the North Carolina Public Records law.”
Greensboro’s answer asked that the lawsuit be dismissed, “in its entirety, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure, where Plaintiff has failed to state a claim for which relief may be granted.”
Greensboro’s answer also asks that Robert’s lawsuit be dismissed because, “the Defendants have fulfilled the Plaintiff’s public records requests # 16298 and 17560. Plaintiffs demands that the City comply with the North Carolina Public Records law are therefore moot.”
In addition to asking the court to deny the lawsuit in its entirety, the City also asks, “That the costs of this action, including reasonable attorney’s fees and other costs as allowed by law, be taxed against the Plaintiff.”
As Tony Baker would say, “no way the courts will allow the city to collect attorney’s fees.” In this regard, I doubt Eric Robert has anything to worry about. This is a scare tactic by Tony Baker. I would suggest that Mr. Robert fight the request for dismissal by using the public records law to show that DGI(?) functions on behalf of the city by promoting downtown. Does the city give money to DGI? Do the city officials hold meetings with DGI? If the city does give money to DGI, does the city give any input whatsoever on how the money is used? I am not giving legal advice so attorneys, do not get your panties in a wad. I am just offering ideas to think about.
The City of Greensboro is government. Government crushes people…because they can.
Mr. Robert, check out Digital Media Law Project website, Access to Public Records in NC. Bear in mind that this site has not been updated since 2014, as I understand. Do your homework. Good luck. As a pro se party, you may not know the Rules of the Court, and are not expected to know. Tony Baker has the advantage here. Attorneys know when to zig or zag by knowing the Rules.
Hey Term Limits, thank you for the sound suggestions!
God knows I need all the help i can get fighting the corrupted machine that our city has become. The lawsuit mentioned in this “article” is about the city attorney (on behalf of city council) lying to me in numerous emails stating that there were no records of the city purchasing the gun show lease…well, as we all know now, HE LIED !
What you are referring to in you first comment is truly valuable to me as it will help me with the complaint I am currently drafting regarding public records for “special district” such as Downtown Greensboro.
One way or another, the “special district”‘s records , currently managed by DGI, will have to be released even if DGI is not subjected to public record s legislations.
We still pay extra taxes and records are generated daily and therefore exist…yet no-one is responsible for them or possesses them?
Nancy Vaughn is on the board of DGI. Do not forget to ask for your expenses be reimbursed for having to fight the machine.
The city of Greensboro was a better place to live years ago, but not anymore.
Why not ask all your friends and supporters to start asking for the public records you are requesting. Just let us know specifically what you’re asking for and let’s start a barrage of requests. There’s strength in numbers
Will, that is actually a great idea!
I met with a well known reporter today. I asked him why he was not covering the city’s abysmal public records’ record. His basic answers was …” nobody cares man…even Ed Cone does not care”.
My own attorney asked me yesterday why I cared so much instead of simply enjoying my life, and the truth is…I almost wish I didn’t. A more appropriate question could have been, why don’t more people care?
I guess that I still, naively idolize and revere America and hold our country to a much higher standard than the rest of the world.
So, as a former foreigner and current proud American, i am still perplexed as to why “nobody cares” about such an important pillars of our democracy, vital to keeping our government accountable.
Anyway, sorry for the lengthy statement and thanks for the suggestion.