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A critic of the Grady County Board of Commissioners received notification from Georgia Attorney General Christopher M. Carr’s office Tuesday that a review of a complaint filed with the state’s Department of Law warranted no further action.
Richard Jordan, a resident of Grady County and one of the fiercest critics of county government, filed a complaint with the state Department of Law alleging that Grady County officials had violated both the Georgia Open Records Act and Open Meetings Act.
Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Colangelo notified Jordan this week that the information he had sent her “did not indicate that the county had violated either of the Acts.”
Jordan could seek legal remedies to challenge Colangelo’s finding. The assistant attorney general outlined in her correspondence with Jordan Tuesday, “I respect the fact that you may disagree with my conclusions, and you may talk to a private attorney about any legal remedies available to you.”
Jordan claimed the county had failed to provide copies of emails he had requested in accordance with the state’s Open Records Act.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, Jordan made his initial request on June 11, 2019 and had requested copies of all correspondence between the county administrator, county commissioners and members of the Grady County Lake Authority related to “the Tired Creek Lake project or the lake itself.”
Jordan told state officials that some of the emails he was provided copies of appeared to be replies to other emails that were not provided to him.
Then, on June 27, 2019, Jordan made another request for the full “chain” of emails. The county, according to Colangelo, provided additional emails, but allegedly not what Jordan had requested.
Grady County Attorney Gabe Ridley issued a response to the Attorney General’s office on Sept. 12. In his letter, Ridley wrote that he had met with Jordan around the time the dispute arose in hopes of resolving the issue. He further stated, “To date, I am not quite clear as to what specific document Mr. Jordan contends the County has failed to produce. Mr. Johnson, the County Administrator, and the person to who Mr. Jordan’s request was directed, is adamant that he provided Mr. Jordan with every record within the scope of Mr. Jordan’s request. As such, the county contends that it has fulfilled its obligations under the Open Records Act.”
Ridley went on to note the county has no obligation to produce records if such records do not exist at the time of the request.
In closing, Ridley wrote to Colangelo, “The County has nothing to hide and if we could get some clarification from Mr. Jordan as to what document he believes the County has withheld, the county will produce it, if the document exists and is subject to disclosure under the Act.”