AG files open-meeting suit against board

PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Office of Attorney General last week filed a complaint in R.I. Superior Court citing the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission for a “willful or knowing violation” of the R.I. Open Meetings Act, according to a statement. More

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AG files open-meeting suit against board

Posted 11/4/13

PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Office of Attorney General last week filed a complaint in R.I. Superior Court citing the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission for a “willful or knowing violation” of the R.I. Open Meetings Act, according to a statement.

The violation occurred when the I-195 Commission failed to post notice of the July 8, 2013 meeting, within a minimum of 48 hours before the meeting.

The lawsuit is the result of a complaint filed by nonprofit watchdog group Common Cause. In a previously released finding, the Office of Attorney General found that the I-195 Commission did violate the law when the agency posted the notice of the meeting within eight hours, not the required 48 hours, of the meeting.

The office investigated the matter further to determine if the I-195 Commission committed a knowing or willful violation. In that finding, the Office of Attorney General noted that by its own admission, the I-195 Commission, or its agent, knew the meeting had not been properly posted, yet convened the meeting anyway. Indeed, legal counsel for the I-195 Commission states that it was under the belief that the posting was “better late than never.”

The I-195 Commission, either itself or through its agent, was “cognizant of an appreciable possibility it was subject to the statutory requirements,” the office said.

The law requires that all public bodies provide written notice of their meetings within 48 hours of the meeting. The notice shall include the date the notice was posted, the date, time, and place of the meeting, and a statement specifying the nature of the business to be discussed. •

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