January 25, 1993









IN RE: Ed Wagner, Jr./Department of Corrections

and Kentucky State Reformatory






This matter comes to the Attorney General on appeal from the actions of the Department of Corrections relative to Mr. Ed Wagner's open records requests. In an undated request, Mr. Wagner, an inmate at the Kentucky State Reformatory, requested various documents relating to the Department's compliance with the American with Disabilities Act of 1990. A second request, dated December 12, 1992, described the records to be inspected as follows:


45" Panasonic TV - Mdl-4500A-S/N A-213010781


1. Name of person authorizing purchase of above TV


2. Name of person actually making purchase of above TV


3. Cost of above TV, and name of seller


4. Reason above TV stored in CCU unit of KSR - unused


5. How long will it be stored, before decision it is worn out and taken home by staff


6. How are TV's in good working condition, but replaced by staff, disposed of


7. Can such methods of disposal be verified











Mr. Wagner had not received a response to his requests as of the date of his appeal, December 21, 1992.


On January 8, 1993, this Office contacted Mr. Jack C. Lewis, Commissioner of the Department of Corrections, to ascertain the status of Mr. Wagner's request. He advised that "the delay in response was due to a very serious illness of the Department's Ombudsman." He explained that the ombudsman coordinates open records requests, but overlooked these requests sometime during December, 1992. She has since passed away. Attached to his response were the Department's responses, dated January 13, 1993.


On behalf of the Department and Kentucky State Reformatory, Warden W. B. Chapleau granted Mr. Wagner's request for documents relating to the Department's compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, he denied Mr. Wagner's December 10, 1992, request, stating:


[Y]ou have not described records, but have asked questions. According to OAG 84-342, a request must be specific. Your request lacks sufficient specificity, and the information requested is not compiled in such a manner to be in the form requested.


We are asked to determine if the Department of Corrections and the Kentucky State Reformatory's actions relative to Mr. Wagner's requests constitute a violation of the Open Records Act. Although the Department's response was not issued within three business days, as required by KRS 61.880(1), and was therefore procedurally deficient, its response was substantively correct.


The Department agreed to release the documents sought by Mr. Wagner which pertain to its implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Accordingly, these records are not in dispute. The Department, through Warden Chapleau, properly advised Mr. Wagner that his December 12 request could not be honored. He explained that Mr. Wagner had failed to request specific documents, but instead requested information.


This Office has consistently recognized that a request for information, as opposed to a request for specific documents, need not be honored. See e.g. OAG 90-100, copy enclosed. There we held that to the extent that the request asked questions, it was a request for information as distinguished from a request to inspect reasonably identified












records. We believe that OAG 90-100, and the opinions cited therein, is dispositive of the present appeal. The Department properly denied Mr. Wagner's request for information. Mr. Wagner may wish to resubmit his request in the proper form. For example, if he seeks information pertaining to the purchase of a television, he should ask to inspect the invoice documenting its sale. This document would almost certainly contain the name of the person making the purchase, the cost of the television, and the name of the seller. Similarly, he should ask to inspect written policies governing disposal of surplus property in order to ascertain what happens to surplus televisions.


Mr. Wagner and the Department may challenge this decision by initiating action in the appropriate circuit court pursuant to KRS 61.880(5) and KRS 61.882.
















Distributed to:


Mr. Jack C. Lewis

Commissioner, Department of Corrections

State Office Building

Frankfort, Kentucky 40601



Mr. Ed Wagner, Jr.

Kentucky State Reformatory

LaGrange, Kentucky 40032-0001



Warden W. B. Chapleau

Kentucky State Reformatory

LaGrange, Kentucky 40032-0001