Memphis FOIA Update

As soon as we got word that the city of Memphis was charging an exorbitant fee for the MAS security camera footage FOIA request, we requested an explanation as well as a fee waiver.  While we didn’t get the fee waiver, we did get an explanation of sorts from Chandell Ryan the Senior Assistant City Attorney and a substantial fee reduction.

Ms. Ryan stated that the “February 2012 invoice was based on the best estimate that could be made at the time” for the city’s costs in duplicating 12 hours worth of footage from 48 cameras. In addition, the fee was discounted by half “due to some confusion around the request”. After duplicating the 12 hours worth of footage for 48 cameras, “the time parameters for obtaining the requested footage is better understood” and thus the eye popping price jump. In the future, if we request 12 hours worth of footage from the equivalent of 20 cameras (10 cameras X 2 days in this case), it will apparently cost $800.  But for this time only, we are being allowed to pay what we paid last time – a little over $200.

I have sent $210 of the $807.30 that was collected for the FOIA leaving a balance of $597.30.  One option is to calculate how much of a refund is due each contributor based upon the amount of the contribution.  That would be a very time consuming task and Paypal would be getting another set of fees.  The better option to my mind is to file another FOIA request in the near future and put the $597.30 toward that.  Any thoughts?

The discs have been paid for and I am expecting to receive them in the mail tomorrow.

19 thoughts on “Memphis FOIA Update

  1. I’m all for using the extra money for another FOIA request or help with an animal needing care! Win-win situation all around!

  2. Keep the funds. Try to keep them for another FOIA request, but if a new urgency comes up (animal in need, or maybe even a lawyer), I wouldn’t be opposed to my contribution being distributed however you see fit!

  3. I did not get a chance to donate – by the time I realized the chip in was open it was already full! But I vote for keeping the money for another FOI request. Or to get a lawyer cause I still think $800 is over the top for this. Even if the original should have cost $400 and you got a discount how can even less footage cost double that?

  4. Another FOIA request. I’d hold off on filing it though. Let it hang over MAS’s head like the sword of Damocles.

  5. Also, what was the justification for denying the waiver? I can’t see any way this request doesn’t meet the requirements as reported here.

      1. If you haven’t already, I’d file another request now that specifically requests the waiver. Don’t take no for an answer on that request. You can file others later and pay, but for at least this one request demand the waiver without compromise.

      2. This is where we could really use a lawyer. Someone who ain’t afraid of the corrupt Memphis city government. We send countless requests asking for the same info over and over. Sometimes they ignore, sometimes they send us partial info – we never know what we’re going to get. Even the partial info varies from request to request. There is no consistency and apparently no one being held accountable for failing to comply with the law. Need a lawyer.

  6. I’m with everybody else. Keep the money and use it for a future FOIA request or other animal need.

  7. Extra money may be needed for something that may show up in the videos. An attorney may be necessary to put the heat on where needed. Many dogs/cats will need costly care. Adoptors may need financial help with their adoptee. There will be many necessary things to come up.

    You can use my funds any way you see fit. You have always done what is best for the animals and that is where everyone’s heart is really at.

  8. I would gladly pitch in for lawyer fees should you decide upon that route. I agree with you and others…it’s time to really take these buttheads to task!!!

  9. I think you should contact a lawyer and ask what legal steps can be taken. I would make sure the laywer doesn’t work in Memphis but a near by city.

    Ps I love your blog. I work at an animal shelter (we are a good one you may know of us) and cannot understand how Mas can be so heartless.

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