Relevant messages from city officials’ private account emails, text messages sought
ew subpoenas directed to Parkville’s elected officials and city administrator have been filed in the Sunshine lawsuit facing the city.
The subpoenas request “all documents or communications regarding any open records request that Jason Maki submitted under the Sunshine Law.”
Among the communication items included in the subpoenas would be any personal emails or text messages in which city officials discussed Maki’s open records requests.
Mayor Nan Johnston has publicly said the city’s elected officials often use their personal email accounts for city business because elected officials are not full-time employees with computers at city offices.
Maki, who is not an attorney but is representing himself in the case, revised the subpoenas following guidelines provided by James Van Amburg, the Platte County judge who is hearing the case.
The city’s lead counsel, Steven Coronado, argued during an August hearing that Maki’s requests were not relevant to the case and were overbroad and unclear. The judge, however, ordered the documents to be released with a few exceptions, such as attorney-client privileged communications.
Van Amburg agreed with Coronado’s assessment that Maki’s request for all information naming Maki was too broad and were not among the items ordered released.
Subpoenas were sent to Parkville’s Board of Aldermen, Mayor Nan Johnston, and City Administrator Joe Parente.
According to documents filed with the court, the information sought via the subpoenas will be provided to Maki during an Oct. 27 meeting at the law offices of the defendant.
In a related matter, during a previous hearing held on Aug. 7, Judge Van Amburg ordered the city to be more specific when answering Maki’s questions in the discovery process of the lawsuit. Van Amburg instructed Coronado to release the requested information.
“I can’t emphasize enough, Mr. Coronado, the specific channels, the specific procedures by which the city went through to answer Mr. Maki’s Sunshine request. He is entitled to that information and I want that provided to him.”
The city officials and staff were granted 10 days to comply with the Judge’s Aug. 7 order. However, according to court documents filed early this week, it appears the city has not fully complied with the court’s order.
“More than 35 days have passed since the court’s order. The city still has not answered all of Mr. Maki’s interrogatories as ordered,” Maki’s motion to compel states.
The motion requests that monetary sanctions should be imposed for the omissions but leaves the amount up to “the court’s discretion.”