Blogger sues Horry County over denied FOIA request

Blogger sues Horry County over denied FOIA request

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A local blogger has filed a lawsuit against Horry County over a denied Freedom of Information Act request.

According to the suit, filed Friday, Paul Gable, who writes for the blog Grand Strand Daily, submitted a FOIA request on May 3 seeking the amount of money spent by the county during its legal fight with treasurer Angie Jones.

Last November, Jones sued the county and its administrator, claiming that her office was understaffed and county leaders refused to provide her with the employees needed to run it.

On May 17, Jones dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice.

That same day, Gable claims in his lawsuit that he received an email from the county's public information office declining his FOIA request, saying the amount of money spent during the Jones litigation was not covered under the Freedom of Information Act.

Gable responded that same day, asking for clarification on the county's decision, according to the lawsuit. He claims a response has not been received.

The plaintiff again sent a request for clarification, this time on May 23, to which he said he never received a response.

"The Plaintiff is informed and believes that the information he has requested, and specifically the amount of money spent by the County litigating a response to a lawsuit filed by one of its elected officials, is information that the public is entitled to know, and is information that is subject to disclosure under FOIA," the suit stated. "The Plaintiff is informed and believes that the actions of the County in this matter violate the S.C. Freedom of Information Act. The Plaintiff is further informed and believes that the actions of the County in this matter reflect a heavy-handed, secretive, and unaccountable approach to governance that is pervasive in local government in Horry County."

Gable is asking the court to declare the county's FOIA denial as unlawful and to provide him with the requested information.

WMBF News has reached out to county officials for comment.

Copyright 2018 WMBF News. All rights reserved.