The Office of Attorney General today filed a complaint in Rhode Island Superior Court today citing the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority ("the Authority") for a willful or knowing violation of the Rhode Island Open Meetings Act (OMA) when the Authority failed to post notice of the June 26, 2012 meeting with the Secretary of State's Office at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting.
The OMA requires that all public bodies provide written notice of their meetings within 48 hours of the meeting (R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-46-6(b)). The notice shall include the date the notice was posted, the date, time, and place of the meeting, and a statement specifying the nature of the business to be discussed.
The lawsuit is the result of a complaint filed with the Office of Attorney General on June 28, 2012 by Peter Kerwin, who alleged that the Authority violated the OMA when the Authority posted notice of the June 26, 2012 meeting on the Secretary of State's website on June 25, 2012.
In a previously released finding (OM 12-32), the Office of Attorney General found that the Authority did violate the OMA when the agency posted the notice of the meeting within 24 hours, not the required 48 ours, of the meeting.
The Office of Attorney General investigated the matter further to determine if the Authority committed a knowing or willful violation (OM 12-32B). Based on the substantive response and affidavits by Authority employees, the Office determined that the Authority did commit a knowing or willing violation of the OMA.
The maximum penalty under the OMA is $5,000 for each knowing or willful violation.