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FOIA fever

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When it comes to Detroit Metropolitan Airport, the pesky press apparently doesn’t know when to let up. For months the media has been inundating airport officials with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

“We get them almost daily, and if we don’t get them daily we get four or five at once,” says Bob Murphy, Metro Airport general counsel.

To deal with the situation, the Wayne County Commission recently approved a contract with the Detroit law firm Couzens, Lansky, Ellis, Roeder and Lazar, which will be paid $150 an hour to respond to document requests. The contract, which is not to exceed $50,000, expires September 2002.

The county and the private firm currently are responding to FOIA requests, says Murphy.

“They are taking up all our time trying to answer their requests,” he says. “It’s just driving us crazy.”

What do these prying reporters hope to dredge up anyway? That airport contracts have not been competitively bid? That relatives of airport officials work for airport contractors? That some VIP’s, including Attorney General Jennifer Granholm, were granted free airport parking?

Oh, that’s right, the media already reported the above — thanks to info uncovered through the FOIA process. So, FOIA away, compatriots. And know that your tenacity has not gone unnoticed by News Hits or Wayne County.

Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or cguyette@metrotimes.com

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