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Lawsuit against City of Little Rock over FOIA violations wraps up

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Michael Hibblen
/
KUAR News
A lawsuit filed against the city over Freedom of Information requests wrapped up Wednesday at the Pulaski County Courthouse.

Representatives of the Little Rock City Attorney's Office agreed on Wednesday to pay lawyer and blogger Matt Campbell $8,557. He sued the city saying it failed to provide documents that should have been made public. Many of the documents were related to LITfest, an arts and culture festival canceled by the city.

The thousands of dollars Campbell requested from the city were calculated by him as the amount of money it cost to research and litigate the case.

In a brief hearing, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chip Welch thanked both parties for reaching an agreement. Welch said he appreciated the city attorneys' cooperation and thanked Campbell for providing his own representation. The judge also said the requested financial amount was “not shocking.”

Campbell operates the website Blue Hog Report and has written extensively about Mayor Frank Scott Jr. and his staff. He claims documents pertaining to LITFest, including the mayor's phone records, were not turned over to him.

Outside the courtroom, attorneys for the city didn't explain why the documents had not been provided. They acknowledged the Freedom of Information Act had been violated by not giving them to Campbell sooner. Going forward, the lawyers pledged to do everything possible to fulfill the requirements of the law.

Campbell told reporters he was “happy with the settlement” and satisfied with the documents he has now received from the city.

Josie Lenora is a news anchor and reporter for UA Little Rock Public Radio. She grew up listening to KUAR and NPR News and says she is thrilled to give back to an organization she loves. Josie first interned in the fall of 2021 assisting in production for KUAR and KLRE, then in spring of 2022 spent a semester interning as a new anchor before joining the staff.