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Lawmakers re-file bridge commission suit at federal level

by jmaloni
Thu, May 27th 2010 02:55 pm

Two Niagara County lawmakers renewed their demand that the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission comply with the federal Freedom of Information Act.

Legislators John D. Ceretto, R-Lewiston, and Danny W. Sklarski, D-Niagara, have instructed their attorneys to re-file a lawsuit against the commission as a federal lawsuit.

Sklarski and Ceretto filed the bipartisan lawsuit last June, when the Bridge Commission ignored their request for information about the departure of former Commission Executive Director Thomas E. Garlock. In March, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, denied Ceretto and Sklarski's request for information under state law, but urged them to resubmit their lawsuit asserting a right to information under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

"We will finally address the ludicrous notion that the Bridge Commission is ‘bi-national' and thus unanswerable to us as American citizens," Ceretto said Monday. "This entity, created by an Act of Congress more than half a century ago, claims to somehow be exempt from U.S. laws.  And, this same entity then tells our friends in Canada that it is exempt from their laws as well. That's a pretty amazing thing - an agency that says it is accountable to no one."

Ceretto said he and Sklarski are undertaking the lawsuit using their own resources, rather than the taxpayers' dollars.

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