By James F. Tracy
On Wednesday, April 1 Wolfgang Halbig retained a Connecticut-based attorney, Kay Wilson, to represent him in his FOI case for records pertaining to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting of December 14, 2012. On April 3 Wilson informed Halbig that she could no longer represent him, citing a fear for her safety and that of her family, according to Halbig.[See update below.]
The record shows that hearing officer Streeter sustained virtually every objection by Assistant Attorney General Terrence O’Neill and suppressed evidence and statements that normally and customarily would be admitted during Freedom of Information hearings. Notably, while shutting down the complainant’s case, the hearing officer never once cautioned the respondent’s attorney for asking leading questions or for any other technical violations.
Indeed, conversely, Streeter allowed the respondent attorney — numerous times — to interrupt and forestall our attempt to put on a case.
The hearing officer has a duty to keep lawyers from dominating lay complainants. More importantly, the Code of Professional Conduct covering hearing officers demands a fair and unbiased hearing.
Halbig’s formal 2014 communication to the Newtown School District Superintendent Board Chair requesting such records, and a 2015 email to the School District counsel Monte Frank requesting same, are provided verbatim below.
March 17, 2014
Connecticut FOIA Request
Wolfgang W Halbig
25526 Hawks Run Lane
Sorrento, Florida 32776
Newtown Public School District
C/O School Superintendent
C/O School Board Chairman
3 Primrose Street
Newtown CT. 06470
Dear School Superintendent and Chairman of the School Board:
Under the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act § 1-200 et seq., I am requesting an opportunity to inspect and obtain copies of public records that will show:
- 1. Provide a copy of the January 23, 2013 School Board Meeting.
- 2. Provide copies of all supporting documents for each item listed on the Consent agenda for Jan 23, 2012.
- 3. Provide a list of all 26 children and the chaperones who represented the Sandy Hook Elementary School on this Feb 2013 field trip to the Super Bowl in New Orleans.
- 4. Provide copies of the field trip waivers that all the parents had to sign for the 26 children who participated in the choir singing at the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans therefore not holding the Newtown school district liable in the event of an injury on this field trip.
- 5. Copy of the in-line duty leave for the Chorus director who was responsible for the field trip to the Feb 2013 Super Bowl In New Orleans.
- 6. Who paid for all of those Airline tickets and did those expenses include the payment of the parent’s tickets?
If there are any fees for searching or copying these records, please inform me if the cost will exceed $ 200.00.
The Connecticut Freedom of Information Act requires a response within four business days. If access to the records I am requesting will take longer, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies or the ability to inspect the requested records.
If you deny any or this entire request, please cite each specific exemption you feel justifies the refusal to release the information and notify me of the appeal procedures available to me under the law.
Wolfgang W Halbig
From: Wolfgang Halbig
Sent: Sunday, February 01, 2015 10:03 AM
To: Frank, Monte E.
Subject: Waiting for your response since March 17, 2014. You have a school board policy on Filed trips and again ignore those policies. Why?
The Newtown Public School District and its School Board members approved the Sandy Hook Elementary School Choir Field Trip to travel to New Orleans and perform at the pre-game show of the Super Bowl Feb 3, 2013 if you remember?
The reason I am asking is Why did the Newtown Public School Board not recognized those 26 children and their families during the school board meetings on Feb 5, 2013, or Feb 15, 2013 since they performed to a world wide audience making the Sandy Hook Elementary School and school district proud.
They NEVER ever brought in those 26 children and parents to shake their hands showing them how proud they were of their performance at the Feb 3m 2013 Super Bowl. Why?
There are school board minutes recognizing two Choruses from Sandy Hook and that was that. Why? What does the other Chorus have to do with that fantastic presentation of those 26 children and Chorus Teacher from Sandy Hook Elementary School?
Under the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act § 1-200et seq., I am requesting an opportunity to inspect and obtain copies of public records that will show:
So I am asking again under the CT Freedom of Information Act which you and the school board are intentionally ignoring that you and Newtown School Board provide me with copies of the following;
1. Copies of those 26 children Parental Field Trip permission forms holding the school board harmless if something where to happen to them on this field trip.
2. Copy of the School Board approved Field Trip Application signed off by the school board that was submitted by Sandy Hook Elementary Chorus Teacher requesting permission to attend the Super Bowl in New Orleans and perform with 26 children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Feb 3, 2013.
3. Copy of the Chours Teachers out of State In line of duty request form approved by the school board showing dates of when leaving and dates when returning signed by school principal and approved by the school board.
Three simple questions again that are not exempt from Public Records as you must know.
Act accordingly and process my request since I have been waiting since March 17, 2014.
Wolfgang W Halbig
[Update 12:45PM 4-4-15: On the morning of April 4 Wilson states that despite some misgivings she will in fact move forward and represent Halbig in his FOI case.-JFT]