It wasn’t until September 2009 that City Council members were informed, O’Neill told the group gathered at the Ericksen Center. The City Council held a series of closed session meetings on Sept. 29, 2009; April 13, 2010; Aug. 4, 2010; Aug. 30, 2010; Sept. 28, 2010; and Sept. 28, 2010 to discuss the suit.
Five members of CFOG reviewed the minutes from those closed sessions and determined instances where they felt the City Council violated open meetings laws. Their report has been filed with the ACLU-IA.
The records are going to be filed with a Clinton County judge before being made public, which O’Neill expects could happen in mid-August.
“We’ve painted a picture from start to finish and it’s up to the judge to decide if there was any wrong doing. And if there was, he or she will determine if or any punishments and or fines will be levied and to who,” CFOG member Marty Nitschke said.
The case was on the court docket before, but was removed to allow the city to turn the records over to the ACLU-IA.
While O’Neill, Nitschke and fellow CFOG member Larry Ketelsen would not comment specifically about what was in the records they reviewed, they did note a general concern the records raised.
“The thing we were most disappointed with is that nobody in the city stood up and said ‘I’m done. This has gone far enough. This is a case of fraud. I’m going to contact the Attorney General and have him look into it instead of having these closed session meetings,’” O’Neill said. “They were very content that these were closed session minutes and we weren’t going to find out this information. Unfortunately, they were wrong, because I got ‘em.”
Nitschke also expressed confidence that the ACLU-IA and CFOG would prevail in the suit.