R.I. AG files lawsuit against I-195 Commission

By Bryan Cohen | Oct 30, 2013

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Legal Newsline) - Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission for allegedly violating the Rhode Island Open Meetings Act.

The OMA states that all public bodies must give written notice of their meeting at least 48 hours before the meeting. The I-195 Commission allegedly engaged in a willful or knowing violation of the OMA by failing to post notice of its July 8 meeting a minimum of 48 hours prior to the meeting.

"As noted in the supplemental finding, if we determine that a willful or knowing violation exists, yet allow the public body to escape sanction by expressing remorse and offering assurances of future compliance, the Open Meetings Act would be in tatters," Kilmartin said.

The I-195 Commission allegedly posted notice of its July 8 meeting on the morning of July 8. Kilmartin's office alleged that the commission or its agent knew the meeting was not properly posted, and convened the meeting regardless. Kilmartin's office alleged that the I-195 Commission through itself or its agent was cognizant of the possibility it was subject to the statutory requirements and failed to take reasonable steps to resolve such doubt.

In response to the supplemental finding and lawsuit, the commission acknowledged the violation and entered into a consent judgment with Kilmartin's office. Under the terms of the agreement, the I-195 Commission will pay a $1,000 fine.

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