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Missouri city pays $195,000 to settle open-records lawsuit

Missouri city pays $195,000 to settle open-records lawsuit

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PARKVILLE, Mo. — The city of Parkville has agreed to pay $195,000 to a man who had alleged dozens of open-records law violations, the Kansas City suburb announced Wednesday.

The settlement ends a yearslong fight with Jason Maki over city officials’ emails and other records.

Maki sent in dozens of records requests to Parkville under Missouri’s Sunshine Law beginning in 2018.

According to the lawsuit he filed, he wanted records relating to Parkville commercial developments near his Kansas City home, as well as copies of city officials’ emails.

Maki said Parkville charged him thousands of dollars in unlawful fees for research time to collect the records. He also claimed the city unlawfully closed some records and wrongly delayed getting the documents to him.

Parkville agreed to pay him $195,000 to settle the suit but didn’t acknowledge any wrongdoing.

In a news release, the city of Parkville said from 2018 to 2021 it responded to 43 separate requests that included 142 categories of open records from Maki.

In settling the lawsuit, the city said it believed it complied with the records requests and continues to deny any liability for the actions alleged in the lawsuit.

“In considering the lawsuit’s dismissal, the city agreed to make a one-time payment to Mr. Maki for $195,000. Additionally, as part of the settlement agreement, Mr. Maki stated that the city’s custodian of records properly fulfilled its obligations and (she) did not violate the Missouri Open Records Act,” the city’s news release states.

It is believed to be the largest Sunshine Law settlement in state history, the Platte County Landmark reported Wednesday.

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