Board votes to comply with Rowland's request to abide by state's FOI laws

New London — The New London Development Corp. board of directors voted unanimously Monday to honor Gov. John G. Rowland’s request that it comply with state Freedom of Information laws.

The vote came 10 days after the NLDC received a letter from Rowland saying that he would withhold state funding from the NLDC until it complied with FOI.

Earlier this year, after several FOI complaints were filed by The Day and the public, the state Freedom of Information Commission ruled that the NLDC was the “functional equivalent” of a public agency that must make its records public. The records include staff numbers and salaries, contracts, budgets, and correspondence.

In voting to comply with Rowland’s request, the board voted to drop its appeal of the commission’s ruling.

NLDC President Claire Gaudiani said Monday that the NLDC had intended to comply all along.

“Was it a surprise to get the letter? Yes. I don’t know why it popped when it did,” Gaudiani said, referring to Rowland’s Dec. 9 correspondence. “But that’s less important than the fact that (Rowland) wanted us to step back and drop the appeal.”

Referring to an executive session last week in which the NLDC’s executive committee voted to comply with FOI, Gaudiani said there is a nationwide “disconnect” regarding FOI and development corporations like the NLDC.

Quasi-public organizations like the NLDC, she said, remain in a gray area of compliance. Gaudiani said she hoped Rowland’s directive to the NLDC will clarify the matter and serve “as a test case to straighten the law.”
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