A reverse FOIA lawsuit in Michigan

Although I promised a guest blogger last week, I didn’t go through the invitation steps correctly to get Chetly Zarko on board.

He might have been too busy anyway, since he found himself in the middle of what is known in Michigan as a reverse-FOIA lawsuit.

The Detroit News covered the story with Judge to decide on release of Howell union e-mail.

[Judge] Latreille said in two weeks he will determine whether the correspondence will be turned over to a political researcher and consultant who requested the e-mails under the state Freedom of Information Act.

The MEA received a court injunction against the school district on Monday to withhold the documents after the district already released e-mails belonging to Howell High teacher Jeff Hughey, who serves as negotiations vice president for the Howell Education Association.

Chetly Zarko, who operates an Oakland County political consulting firm, said he has requested similar information from six school districts, including Howell and Muskegon, to investigate taxpayer-funded lobbying using public resources and time.

Doug Norton, head of the Howell Education Association, is one person whose emails have been requested. He told the Detroit News reporter:

“To have someone muckrake like this is unconscionable.”

Reportedly, the school district has hundreds of additional emails that fall within the scope of the material requested under Zarko’s FOIA. It is those additional emails that the Howell Education Association is seeking to keep under wraps. Zarko has already posted the text of emails he received from this school district before the lawsuit and court injunction took effect.

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