Missouri Attorney General obtains two consent judgments in Sunshine lawsuits

Missouri Sunshine Law

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt today announced that his Office has obtained two consent judgments in Sunshine Law lawsuits launched earlier this year. The lawsuit against the Ray County Commission and the lawsuit against the City of Fairview were filed in April of 2021.

“Enforcing and protecting the Sunshine Law is an important duty of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, and it’s a duty that I take seriously,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “The resolution to both cases through consent judgment is a victory for the Office and for open, transparent government. I will continue to take action where violations of the Sunshine Law exist.”

The lawsuit against the Ray County Commission and Ray County alleged that the Commission did not provide adequate public notice for several May 2020 public meetings, nor did the Commission provide meeting topics in their published tentative agenda. Several meetings where a public notice was not adequately provided discussed disbursement of federal CARES Act monies, as well as other important city business. The lawsuit alleged that the Commission violated the Sunshine Law.

The lawsuit against the City of Fairview alleged that the City of Fairview’s City Council violated the Sunshine Law and held several unauthorized closed meetings in 2020 to discuss and vote on several topics, including the impeachment of a member of the City Council, the resignation of the city’s police chief, and other important city business.

Under both consent judgments, the Ray County Commission and the City of Fairview are required to pay civil penalties and attend training held by the Attorney General’s Office. Additionally, the Attorney General’s Office retains the ability to seek additional enforcement or legal remedies if the Sunshine Law is violated again.

The consent judgment in the Ray County Commission case can be found here.

The consent judgment in the City of Fairview case can be found here