Island County man sues Chelan County over public records

Eric Hood is seeking compensation for the costs of the lawsuit, attorneys, damages, and other relief.

The Wenatchee World

WATERVILLE — An Island County man is suing Chelan County for an alleged violation of the Public Records Act, saying his records request was not fulfilled.

According to the lawsuit filed Sept. 5 in Douglas County Superior Court, plaintiff Eric Hood claims the county didn’t respond in a timely manner and letters and emails related to a February records request weren’t included in the county’s final response to his request several months later.

He’s seeking compensation for the costs of the lawsuit, attorney fees, damages and other relief as deemed proper by the court, as well as the requested documents.

Hood, a former school teacher, is not unfamiliar with public records lawsuits. Since 2012, he’s filed 24 lawsuits against 18 government entities, mostly school districts, claiming improper handling of records requests.

Hood’s disagreement with Chelan County began Feb. 8 when sent a records request to the county’s Department of Community Development asking for the 2015 Washington State Auditor’s Accountability Audit of Chelan County, and related emails and letters from the Auditor’s Office.

A community development official replied to Hood that same day, stating that Hood had sent his request to the wrong department. Hood asked for the request to be forwarded to the correct department.

On March 21, he received an email from the county commissioners’ public records coordinator, Carlye Baity, telling him he could expect the records by March 30, according to the lawsuit.

And on March 30, Baity emailed Hood the Chelan County Accountability Audit and told him he could find the audit online, as well. She also attached an exit conference meeting agenda and an exemption log.

In reading the audit, Hood found references to letters sent from the auditor’s office to the county. The county did not provide these letters to Hood in its response to his request.

The exit conference meeting agenda and exemption log indicate that other records were not provided to Hood as he’d asked, the lawsuit states.

Chelan County’s attorney could not be reached for comment.

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