The Manhattan-based Reclaim New York said the Town of Oyster Bay turned over information on town expenditures that the nonprofit group had requested under the state Freedom of Information Law.
But the organization, which promotes government transparency, said it will continue to pursue its lawsuit against the town.
“Oyster Bay should be held accountable,” the group said in a statement. “They should also be made to pay attorney fees associated with this litigation. No citizen or group should be forced to pay a lawyer thousands of dollars to secure access to a public record.”
Reclaim New York said in its statement that the June 16 release of information came only after the group filed its lawsuit on June 7, three months after the first request for town records on contracts and expenditures. FOIL requires that the information typically be made public within 20 days.
“Our transparency laws were created to enable the average citizen to see how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent,” the Reclaim New York statement said.
Town Clerk James Altadonna Jr. said Monday the town released the documents not because of the lawsuit but because it took weeks to compile the 1,400 pages of documents.
“There was never any intent on the town’s part not to respond to this FOIL request...,” he said. “We never at any point said we’re not going to respond.”
Altadonna said his office did not send Reclaim New York a letter requesting an extension, which he said should have been done. But he said no one from the organization called him to discuss the matter.
Reclaim New York spokesman Doug Kellogg said Oyster Bay did, in fact, request an extension, and that the group repeatedly contacted the town after that to inquire about the FOIL.
The suit also names the Elmont and Manhasset school districts. Kellogg said lawyers for the Elmont district told attorneys for the group that they plan to turn over the documents. It’s unclear when or whether Manhasset will do so, he said.