Maki will seek more specific subpoenas
Platte County Circuit Court judge issued a ruling Monday that in effect will mean Parkville city officials must produce documents, including those on their private email servers and text messages, regarding requests for certain information under the state’s Sunshine Law.
The ruling will mean that the plaintiff, Jason Maki, can request new subpoenas for documents or communications made on city officials’ private servers from the time he made his Sunshine Law request to the time the city retained counsel in the matter.
The order part of a suit filed by Maki in February which alleges that officials violated the law by failing to release some documents. The law is designed to safeguard government transparency.
The ruling by Platte County Circuit Court Judge James Van Amburg allows that city officials, named as Mayor Nan Johnston, City Administrator Joe Parente and the eight-member board of aldermen can be subpoenaed for all communications regarding Maki’s Sunshine requests.
The ruling states that all documents or communications from the time Maki made his Sunshine request to the time when the city hired attorneys for representation are deemed open and must be released, according to a Kansas City area attorney who spoke off-the-record about the case. The ruling comes following a Friday hearing in which the judge heard arguments about the release of the documents and took the issue under advisement.
The city’s attorneys had argued the documents should not be released, were not relevant to the case and were too broad.
The judge’s ruling allows for the release of information with a few exceptions, such as attorney-client privileged communications, the attorney stated. In addition, Maki’s request for all communications that mention him was deemed too broad and were not among items ordered to be released, he said. And Maki’s request for “any open records requests submitted by persons other than Mr. Maki” was ruled not relevant to the case and denied.