Springfield Agrees To Pay $5K For Destroying Buscher File, Violating FOIA

Aug 9, 2013

Calvin Christian
Credit Calvin Christian

The City of Springfield admits it illegally destroyed Deputy Police Chief Cliff Buscher's internal affairs file. 

In a motion filed in Sangamon County Court Friday, the City agrees to pay Calvin Christian $5,000, the fee set for a single violation of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. 

Christian sued the City in May after it said Buscher's file had been destroyed.

Christian's attorney, Don Craven, tells the State Journal-Register the issue is far from settled: 

“This is not about $5,000.  This is about requiring the city of Springfield to comply with the … act.”

“We are apparently still going to muddle through the discovery about who did what when, and try to get to the bottom of this." 

"I think today is an admission by the city that unnamed city officials screwed up. Now, who screwed up? How did they screw up? And what are we doing to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?”

Christian's lawsuit claims the city shredded 72 additional internal affairs files subject to a separate FOIA request.  That city has said that request was "unduly burdensome".

As a result, the lawsuit seeks $360,000 more in civil penalties - $5,000 for each of those 72 files - plus attorney's fees.

Attorney John Gray Noll plans to defend the City on those 72 counts.

The motion Noll filed Thursday calls the request for payment of attorney's fees "premature". 


Click here to read the court motion filed August 8th.

Click here to read the official statement issued by the city regarding its violation of FOIA

Listen to Peter Gray's latest interview with plaintiff Calvin Christian (recorded Wednesday, August 7th):