Matt Campbell, the Little Rock lawyer who publishes the muckraking Blue Hog Report, has filed his promise complaint against the city of Little Rock for failure to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests.
In a note to City Attorney Tom Carpenter, Mayor Frank Scott Jr. and others, Campbell wrote:
Attached is an appeal from denial of rights that I filed a short time ago. So there is no confusion, and because I assume the media will be in contact with you for comment, I wanted to let you know that it has nothing to do with the Think Rubix records. Rather it is in regard to three separate requests:
-My September 8 request for Mayor Scott’s monthly phone records;
-My September 9 request for all emails to or from firstname.lastname@example.org;
-My September 16 request that was sent to Ms. Pruitt and the City of Little Rock via Twitter, requesting permits and other records related to Food Truck Friday.
None of these requests has been answered by the custodian, and all are clearly public records to which I am entitled, so I have no idea why the city refused to produce them. But I am done waiting for a response that we all know is not going to come since this administration would rather let the city get sued than risk even the slightest hint of transparency.
As this is a notice of litigation, you are hereby directed to retain any materials that could possibly be relevant to this matter, including communications.
This is an important lawsuit. It will decide if the Scott administration can continue to get away with a concerted strategy to avoid providing the public with information to which they are entitled, by legal and other artifices (erasing email and text messages), even on such mundane topics as food truck events.
We wrote yesterday about Campbell’s unsuccessful efforts to get information related to the city’s $45,000 contract with Think Rubix — the company for which Scott’s former chief of staff, Charles Blake went to work — to stage the mayor’s “LITFest.” Campbell was repeatedly rebuffed for, among others, requests for information about musical groups interested in playing at LITFest. Coincidentally, the city public relations office late yesterday afternoon released a schedule of performers. Information that should have been given to Campbell long before. Did it just magically appear in the public domain, as things with the Scott administration so often seem to do? (Topgolf in War Memorial Park comes immediately to mind.)
The bottom line is this: Whatever you think about Frank Scott — and his record has undeniable pluses while his chief challenger, Steve Landers, carries immensely heavy baggage — his promise of a transparent administration untainted by special interest politics is transparently BS.
And speaking of transparency: Ask Scott about the cost of his police chauffeur service, a nearly four-year secret. Also ask him if he was stopped by State Police in August 2016 and taken to Sherwood Municipal Court on suspicions of a driving violation. That’s the relevant question, not whether he has, as his flak put it, never been “convicted of anything.”
I’m seeking a response from the city. Expect politics, race and legal technicalities to figure in the response.