Parkville, MO, July 22, 2021 – Mr. Maki has expressed a concern about a certain statement in the press release issued by the City of Parkville. Here is what the City’s press release states: “Additionally, as part of the settlement agreement, Mr. Maki stated that the City’s Custodian of Records properly fulfilled its obligations and did not violate the Missouri Open Records Act.”
Here is what the Settlement Agreement and Release signed by Mr. Maki states: “WHEREAS, at Mr. Maki’s request, the City acknowledges that the Custodian of Records for the City of Parkville properly fulfilled her obligations and did not violate the Missouri Open Records Act.”
The signed Settlement Agreement and Release speaks for itself.
PARKVILLE, MO, JULY 21, 2021 – The City of Parkville has entered into a settlement agreement regarding a civil lawsuit filed in 2020. The settlement resolves all current and future claims that could have been brought arising from the multiple Sunshine Law records requests that formed the basis of the lawsuit.
From 2018 to 2021, the City responded to 43 separate requests that included 142 categories of open records from Mr. Jason Maki, regarding various City of Parkville topics and public projects. The City responded to the requests and produced more than 110,000 public records during that time. Ultimately, Mr. Maki filed a lawsuit over alleged violations of the Missouri Sunshine Law that has been ongoing, expensive and contentious, but has now been resolved between Mr. Maki and the City.
In settling the lawsuit, the City believes it complied with the records requests and continues to deny any liability for the actions alleged in the lawsuit. Further, the settlement agreement specifically provides the City’s agreement does not constitute an admission of any liability. In considering the lawsuit’s dismissal, the City agreed to make a one-time payment to Mr. Maki for $195,000. Additionally, as part of the settlement agreement, Mr. Maki stated that the City’s Custodian of Records properly fulfilled its obligations and did not violate the Missouri Open Records Act.
The City settled the lawsuit in the best interests of the Citizens, both financially and operationally. The taxpayers’ costs for continued litigation including the future legal expenses associated with depositions, a trial and potential appeals (even with a successful result for the City) are projected to exceed the settlement agreement payment. The litigation could have lasted several years with continued disruptions negatively impacting the City’s officials and staff’s work in providing the highest level of public services. For these reasons, the City believes it makes economic sense to move on for the benefit of the City taxpayers.
The City of Parkville recognizes the importance of Missouri’s Sunshine Law Act and shares a commitment to openness in government. The City promotes transparency in government in various ways, including the way we communicate with citizens. We will continue to do this and always strive to find ways to improve. We look forward to continued dedication in serving the needs of our residents.
The Settlement Agreement and Release is a public record and is available from the City of Parkville, by request.