An outspoken critic of Pasco's attempt to annex a large county doughnut hole using a new process has sued, claiming he wasn't given some public records he was entitled to.
Roger Lenk, one of 4,000 residents of the doughnut hole, claims Pasco and Franklin Fire District 3 withheld documents about their discussion of a proposed annexation.
Pasco, Franklin County and Franklin Fire District 3 are talking about a planned annexation of about two miles of county land using a process that allows an interlocal agreement among the three entities. Most of the area is between Sylvester and Argent roads and roads 52 and 100.
Lenk filed requests under the state's Open Public Records Act with both Pasco and Franklin Fire District 3 for documents related to the annexation discussion.
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Among the documents Lenk received were draft agreements between the city and fire district that showed proposed terms for a planned annexation.
But Lenk said he got some documents from the fire district that the city did not release or include in its exemption log.
And he found documents other public agencies had that neither the fire district nor Pasco included in their response to his public record requests.
Pasco City Manager Gary Crutchfield said the city has provided many documents to Lenk and still is working on some of the requests he made. Lenk made broad requests for documents, he said.
Lenk is entitled to sue if he feels he hasn't been provided with all the documents to which he is entitled, Crutchfield said. Then a judge will decide.
Crutchfield said he can't recall another time when the city was sued for public records.
The fire district is investigating Lenk's allegations, said the district's attorney, Dan Hultgrenn of Pasco.
"We believe we have provided him everything he asked for," he said.
Penalties for not releasing public documents can be up to $100 per document per day, under state law.
Lenk, who is representing himself at this time, claims in the lawsuit against Pasco filed in Franklin County Superior Court that the city withheld at least 12 documents and three sets of documents, including emails, maps and a draft agreement.
And he alleges in the second lawsuit that the fire district withheld at least nine documents, including emails, correspondence and invoices related to annexation consultants and written notes.
One of the reasons that some county residents oppose annexation is distrust of the city, he said.
Representatives from the city, county and fire district met this week to continue the annexation agreement discussions. Crutchfield said they plan to have a decision by the end of the year on whether a negotiated annexation is viable.
w Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org