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  • Dennis McCaslin

Craighead County Library Systems admits to second FOIA violation to settle lawsuit

Fort Smith Attorney Joey McCutchen, along with his client Darrell Cook, announced the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library has settled a second Freedom of Information Act case today.

McCutchen filed the current FOIA Complaint against the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library for a public records violation on December 8, 2021. This was the second alleged FOIA violation against the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library in the last few months.

On November 10, 2021, the Library admitted to violating FOIA by not giving notice of a subcommittee meeting. See the Agreed Order from the initial FOIA violation by clicking here:

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On Thursday, Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library again agreed to violating the Freedom of Information Act by failing to provide requested records and by redacting certain information from the backs of checks. You can read the Agreed Order in the second FOIA case by clickming here"

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The current lawsuit arose after the Library failed to produce documents requested by Darrell Cook through several FOIA Requests. Notably, the Library failed to turn over various financial documentation including official source documents from the bank.

The Library also, without explanation, provided several checks that had been altered or redacted and no longer contained any information including signatures in the endorsement section. These checks were all made payable to “Consuelo’s Cleaning Services LLC.” FOIA does not permit the Library to alter or redact this type of information.

McCutchen, upon filing the second complaint, said, “Citizens have the right to know how their tax dollars are being spent, especially when a library has a huge annual budget. Accountability matters. It is the Library’s job to fully disclose that information in a timely and complete manner. Otherwise, it gives the appearance of impropriety.”

McCutchen added, “ While folks in the Jonesboro community have strong feelings and differing views regarding sensitive materials in the library, all community members should embrace that it is vital that public business be conducted in an open and public manner. Only by ensuring that the Freedom of Information Act is preserved and enforced can we hold government officials fully accountable.”

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