The Illinois Attorney General’s office has determined that the city of Evanston improperly extended the deadline to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from IAR Local Government Affairs Director (GAD) Howard Handler. The city had claimed that Handler’s request for records of off-campus housing and property code violations were being used for commercial purposes, thus giving the city 21 days rather than the standard 5 working days to respond.
But the Attorney General’s office found that while Handler requested the information as an employee of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and the North Shore-Barrington Association of REALTORS® — not-for-profits that promote the commercial interests of their members — the records were not going to be used for commercial purposes.
The city was labeling many requests related to real property as "commercial" including a member seeking records related to their very own property. Hence, the Attorney General's opinion will help pave the way for REALTORS® and property owners to access public records related to real estate in a timely manner.
Evanstonnow.com covers the details in the article, “State says Evanston unfair in delaying info request,” including the letter from the Illinois Attorney General’s office