Kokomo Teenager Wins Legal Fees

 City of Kokomo must pay $11,000 over teenager’s open-records suit.

 

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) _ Fighting a teenager’s public records request will cost the city more than $11,000 in attorneys fees.

Howard Circuit Court Judge Lynn Murray on Monday ordered the city to pay the full amount sought by the attorney who handled the lawsuit for Western High School student Ryan Nees.

Murray already had ordered Mayor Matt McKillip to turn over a list of e-mail addresses for the 1,400 subscribers to the city’s electronic newsletter.

Nees, 16, filed the lawsuit under the state’s open-records law after he said he subscribed to the city newsletter and then started also receiving campaign messages.

McKillip, a first-term Republican in the city about 40 miles north of Indianapolis, said he had not used the mailing list for political purposes and that his campaign had a much shorter e-mail list.

Nees said he decided to pursue the lawsuit because he believed McKillip was wrongly using the city’s e-mail list. The state’s public accesscounselor had also sided with Nees last year on whether the mayor was required to release the mailing list.

Shortly after Murray issued that ruling, the General Assembly amended the state’s Access to Public Records Act to give government officials the right to withhold lists of e-mail addresses.

City officials decided against appealing Murray’s ruling.