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FOIL Appeal Determination for 10-11-5C (Fred Vogel, May 10, 2010)

CERTIFIED MAIL: RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED

May 10, 2010

Fred Vogel
3210 Lake Shore Drive
Lake George, NY 12845

re: Freedom of Information Law appeal # 10-11-5C

Freedom of Information Law request # 10-131

Dear Mr. Vogel:

Background

You made a request for access to "Any complaints regarding 3210 Lake Shore Dr. Lake George NY ... around April 2010" by your application dated April 16, 2010.

That request was acknowledged by the Regional FOIL Coordinator's letter dated April 23, 2010 to you, and was granted in part and denied in part by that letter: the letter transmits to you a copy of a certain Complaint Form, redacted inter alia by the obliteration of the complainant's name, upon the ground that the redacted portion of the record was exempt pursuant to Public Officers Law § 87(2)(b); the letter recites that "some information has been redacted from these documents. This information is redacted under Public Officer's Law §87(2)b as the release would result in an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy".

You made an appeal from that denial by your letter dated April 27, 2010: the letter argues, "The organization or individual that made the claim should not remain anonymous".

That appeal was acknowledged by the FOIL Appeals Officer's letter dated April 30, 2010 to you.

Discussion

It is well-established that a portion of a record which contains information identifying a complainant may be redacted, either upon the ground that the identifying information is exempt pursuant to Public Officers Law § 87(2)(b) because its disclosure would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, and additionally or alternatively upon the ground that the identifying information is exempt pursuant to Public Officers Law § 87(2)(e)(iii) because it is compiled for law-enforcement purposes and its disclosure would identify a confidential source. See, e.g., Pennington v. Clark, 16 A.D.3d 1049, 791 N.Y.S.2d 774 (4th Dept., 2005), rearg. denied, 19 A.D.3d 1185, 796 N.Y.S.2d 567 (4th Dept., 2005), mot. for lv. to app. denied, 5 N.Y.3d 712, 840 N.E.2d 131, 806 N.Y.S.2d 162 (2005). And see Committee on Open Government advisory opinion FOIL-AO-16679 (July 23, 2007). In this matter, the redaction consisting of the obliteration of the complainant's name was proper because the complainant's name is within both cited exemptions, Public Officers Law § 87(2), (b) and (e)(iii).

Determination

The denial from which this appeal was made is affirmed, and access to the redacted portion of the subject record is denied.

This determination is a final agency action.

Please take notice that, pursuant to Public Officers Law § 89(4)(b), you may obtain review of this determination by bringing a proceeding in court pursuant to Civil Practice Law and Rules Article 78.

Cordially,

/s/

James H. Eckl
FOIL Appeals Officer

cc: Committee on Open Government
Department of State
One Commerce Plaza
99 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12231-0001


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