In the course of investigating financial impropriety allegations at government-funded transportation provider, JAUNT, Schilling Show host, Rob Schilling, requested a series of documents under Virginia open records laws (FOIA).
JAUNT refused, stating that the organization was not subject to Virginia FOIA. Schilling subsequently engaged attorney Matthew Hardin to bring suit against JAUNT in order to compel them to release the records.
On February 9, Albemarle General District Court Judge Matt Quatrara ruled in Schilling’s favor. [download ruling]
Attorney Hardin commented on Judge Quatrara’s decision:
“JAUNT has argued that it isn’t subject to Virginia’s FOIA because it doesn’t receive most of its funding from the government. Today’s ruling from the Charlottesville General District Court held that JAUNT is a public body because it is “wholly or principally funded” by a collection of Virginia localities, by the Commonwealth of Virginia itself, and by funds received from the federal government. Although the case will continue to be litigated, the judge has held that Mr. Schilling’s allegations are sufficient for JAUNT to be considered a public body and subject to FOIA. We look forward to trial and to shedding some light on JAUNT’s operations.”
Following this preliminary ruling, Schilling will continue his legal pursuit of the requested documents:
“Taxpayers have a right to see the internal workings of JAUNT or any other agency that is substantially funded by the public. Such entities should not be allowed to conceal their dealings from scrutiny using evasive and flimsy legal maneuvers.”