Delaware Department of Justice
Attorney General
Kathy Jennings

19-IB15 3/20/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Peter Kostyshyn re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the City of Wilmington

PRINT VERSION: Attorney General Opinion No. 19-IB15


Attorney General Opinion No. 19-IB15

March 20, 2019

Mr. Peter Kostyshyn
Georgetown, Delaware 19947
RE:     FOIA Petition Regarding the City of Wilmington
Dear Mr. Kostyshyn:
We write in response to your correspondence alleging that the City of Wilmington (“City”) violated the Delaware Freedom of Information Act, 29 Del. C. §§ 10001-10007 (“FOIA”) in regard to your request for records.  We treat your correspondence as a Petition for a determination pursuant to 29 Del. C. § 10005(e) regarding whether a violation of FOIA has occurred or is about to occur. For the reasons set forth below, we conclude that the City has not violated FOIA as alleged.
Our Office received your Petition, in which you appeal the denial of your FOIA request, asking our Office to investigate the City’s response “for compliance,” noting that “at a minimum, the first twenty pages are requested for Purzycki’s installation.”[1]  The FOIA request was for “the appointment calendar of M. Purzycki, the visitor’s [sic] to the Mayor’s office since instillation [sic] as Mayor to present.”[2]  By letter dated January 31, 2019, the City responded that it would take approximately 2.25 hours “to fully identify and process” the request, that approximately 1226 documents would need to be photocopied, the first twenty copies of which would be produced free of charge, and that upon receipt of payment of the total estimated cost of $170.01 to process this request, the City would make the copies available to you, noting that additional fees may be required for actual reproduction costs incurred and must be paid prior to the document release.[3]
One of FOIA’s primary purposes is to grant citizens access to public records.[4]  However, the requestor is responsible to pay for the photocopying and administrative costs associated with the records request as set forth in 29 Del. C. § 10003(m).  The public body must produce an itemized written cost estimate listing its expected costs.[5]  “Upon receipt of the estimate, the requesting party may decide whether to proceed with, cancel, or modify the request.”[6]  Here, the City has provided a cost estimate to you for producing the full scope of responsive documents, and you indicated in your Petition that you would like to receive, at a minimum, twenty pages of the records.  As the City has not improperly denied records and merely presented a cost estimate for your consideration and that estimate contemplates providing you with twenty copies free of charge, we find that FOIA has not been violated as alleged.
Thus, it is our determination that the City has not violated FOIA as alleged.
Very truly yours,
/s/ Dorey L. Cole
Dorey L. Cole
Deputy Attorney General
/s/ Allison E. Reardon
Allison E. Reardon
State Solicitor
Robert Goff, Esq., City Solicitor (via email)
[1]           Petition.
[2]           Id. (quoted in original format).
[3]           Id.
[4]           29 Del. C. § 10001.
[5]           29 Del. C. § 10003(m)(2).
[6]           Id.

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