The City of Greensboro is being threatened with a legal action over its failure to produce public records in a timely manner.
Since the person making this threat is Amiel Rossabi of Rossabi Law Partners, and it was made in a letter to Mayor Nancy Vaughan, members of the Greensboro City Council, City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba and City Attorney Chuck Watts, it can hardly be considered idle.
According to Rossabi’s letter on Jan. 4, 2022, he made a written request for information on “violent incidents” that occurred at “exempt facilities” from Jan. 1, 2016 through Dec. 31, 2021.
In that public records request, Rossabi defines “exempt facilities” to which the Greensboro Safety Review Board (GSRB) doesn’t apply as: “(1) uses, activities and facilities owned or operated by any Federal, State, County or local government agency or government-sponsored entity or events issued a special use permit by these entities; (2) Uses, activities and facilities owned or operated by any private educational institution or religious institution; (3) facilities operated by an organization designated as a non-profit entity under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code, when the location is being operated by the non-profit entity; and (4) arts and crafts shows, athletic fields and athletic events, community festivals, carnivals, fairs or circuses, conventions, exhibition, trade shows, religious events and assemblies, parades.”
In other words, just about every entity is exempt except for privately owned for profit bars and restaurants.
Rossabi also asks for details about the actions taken by the City of Greensboro in response to these violent incidents that occurred at facilities exempt from the GSRB oversight.
In the letter Rossabi states, “The creation and implementation of the Greensboro Safety Review Board (‘GSRB’) and its concomitant standard operating procedure constituted unconstitutional and discriminatory action against private business owners.”
Finally, Rossabi states, “If I do not receive a substantive response to my PIRT [Public Information Request Tracking] request by Wednesday, March 16, 2022 I will file an action for Declaratory Judgement and seek my attorney’s fees.”
The North Carolina Public Records Law states, “Every custodian of public records shall permit any record in the custodian’s custody to be inspected and examined at reasonable times and under reasonable supervision by any person, and shall, as promptly as possible, furnish copies thereof …”
As Rossabi notes, he has waited over two months with no response from the City of Greensboro to his public records request.
It may be left to the courts to decide the promptness of a two month wait.