The City of Green Bay received an open records request for text, emails and social media messages from alderpersons involving two recent city controversies. The request was made anonymously, which is allowed under state law:
1. All emails, text messages and social media private message from the alderpersons to each and Mike Frantz, Dennis Doucette and or Steve Frantz regarding the Hotel Northland from December 1, 2016 through April 9, 2017.
2. All emails, text messages, and social media messages from the alderpersons to each other and Scott Vanidestine, Jeremy Levinson and or Halling and Cayo S.C. regarding the petition and complaint to remove the Mayor from December 1, 2016 through February 28, 2017.
The Hotel Northland is a redevelopment project mired in controversy, much of it involving Mayor Jim Schmitt.
The complaint to remove Schmitt from office came after he was convicted of misdemeanor campaign finance violations. The complaint advanced to the Green Bay City Council, where it fell just one vote short of forcing Schmitt’s removal from office. Schmitt has said he suspects several aldermen were involved with the effort to remove him. The reason why someone would ask for aldeperson’s messages related to the Hotel Northland project is unclear.
What’s noteworthy about the request is it comes a couple of weeks after Media Trackers received the results of an open records request for Schmitt’s text messaging with those involved in the Hotel Northland redevelopment. Media Trackers continues to review the text messages we received.
Media Trackers asked Schmitt via text message Wednesday afternoon if he had made the anonymous open records request. We received no reply. We asked Schmitt again Thursday morning. As of 8 AM Thursday, Schmitt had not responded. If Schmitt does respond to us, we will update this post.
UPDATE: The email containing the anonymous open record request was sent April 10, the same day as our open records request was finalized; about seven hours earlier. At that time we had communicated with one person in the Green Bay City Attorney’s office and told no one else about our request.
The anonymous request appears as though it could be in response to our request; similar but more expansive. It also might be merely a coincidence that both requests arrived within in hours of each other. It is also notable that our request, filed on the same day, was filled two weeks ago while the city is just now gathering the records for the anonymous request. That may indicate that time was not of the essence to the person making the request, as would be the case with someone in the media on deadline. The person making the request identifies themselves as “a concerned citizen.”
Also, Mayor Jim Schmitt still hasn’t responded to the question of whether he was involved with the anonymous request. In addition to our texts to Schmitt Wednesday and Thursday, it was announced on the Jerry Bader radio show Thursday morning that we’re seeking comment from Schmitt.