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AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF OF VIOLA DAVIS, FOUNDER OF A DEKALB COUNTY TAXPAYER ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION, IN SUPPORT OF SABRINA SMITH

AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF OF VIOLA DAVIS, FOUNDER OF A DEKALB COUNTY TAXPAYER ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION, IN SUPPORT OF SABRINA SMITH

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Published by Viola Davis
THE SUPERIOR COURT OF GWINNETT COUNTY
STATE OF GEORGIA

SABRINA SMITH,
Plaintiff,

v.

GWINNETT CHAMBER OF
COMMERCE, INC., et al.,
Defendants.

CIVIL ACTION FILE NO.:
12A-09712-4


AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF
OF VIOLA DAVIS, FOUNDER OF A DEKALB COUNTY TAXPAYER ADVOCACY
ORGANIZATION, IN SUPPORT OF SABRINA SMITH

COMES NOW, Amicus Curiae named above, who hereby makes and files
this Brief in Support of Sabrina Smith's Complaint for Enforcement and
Applicability pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 50-18-73, and for such shows as
follows:

INTEREST OF AMICUS CURIAE

Viola Davis, the founder of a Dekalb County taxpayer advocacy organization,
has been a long-time government watchdog and was a plaintiff in the Brown vs. Board
of Education lawsuit filed by the late Charles Scott Sr. Ms. Davis is a taxpayer and
education advocate who regularly files open records requests with government entities
to analyze how taxpayer dollars are spent and disseminates the results to the public.
Ms. Davis reviewed documents that show Dekalb County gave $10,000.00 to
Partnership Gwinnett.

Ms. Davis is interested in supporting public access to records to show what economic development activities the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce conducted on behalf of Gwinnett County. Ms. Davis believes the Open Records Act is critical to Georgia citizens' ability to be informed about their local government and it is with this in mind that Viola Davis strongly supports Ms. Smith in her effort to secure
full compliance with the Act's mandates, including a determination that the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce is declared subject to such Act.
THE SUPERIOR COURT OF GWINNETT COUNTY
STATE OF GEORGIA

SABRINA SMITH,
Plaintiff,

v.

GWINNETT CHAMBER OF
COMMERCE, INC., et al.,
Defendants.

CIVIL ACTION FILE NO.:
12A-09712-4


AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF
OF VIOLA DAVIS, FOUNDER OF A DEKALB COUNTY TAXPAYER ADVOCACY
ORGANIZATION, IN SUPPORT OF SABRINA SMITH

COMES NOW, Amicus Curiae named above, who hereby makes and files
this Brief in Support of Sabrina Smith's Complaint for Enforcement and
Applicability pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 50-18-73, and for such shows as
follows:

INTEREST OF AMICUS CURIAE

Viola Davis, the founder of a Dekalb County taxpayer advocacy organization,
has been a long-time government watchdog and was a plaintiff in the Brown vs. Board
of Education lawsuit filed by the late Charles Scott Sr. Ms. Davis is a taxpayer and
education advocate who regularly files open records requests with government entities
to analyze how taxpayer dollars are spent and disseminates the results to the public.
Ms. Davis reviewed documents that show Dekalb County gave $10,000.00 to
Partnership Gwinnett.

Ms. Davis is interested in supporting public access to records to show what economic development activities the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce conducted on behalf of Gwinnett County. Ms. Davis believes the Open Records Act is critical to Georgia citizens' ability to be informed about their local government and it is with this in mind that Viola Davis strongly supports Ms. Smith in her effort to secure
full compliance with the Act's mandates, including a determination that the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce is declared subject to such Act.

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Published by: Viola Davis on Dec 13, 2013
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CIVILACTIONFILENO.:SABRINASMITH,Plaintiff,12A-09712-4GWINNETICHAMBEROFCOMMERCE,INC.,etal., Defendants.
AMICUSCURIAE
BRIEFOFVIOLADAVIS,FOUNDEROFADEKALBCOUNTYTAXPAYERADVOCACYORGANIZATION,INSUPPORTOFSABRINASMITH
COMESNOW,AmicusCuriaenamedabove,whoherebymakesandfilesthisBriefinSupportofSabrinaSmith'sComplaintforEnforcementandApplicabilitypursuanttoO.C.G.A.
§
50-18-73,andforsuchshowsasfollows:
INTERESTOFAMICUSCURIAE
ViolaDavis,thefounderofaDekalbCountytaxpayeradvocacyorganization,hasbeenalong-timegovernmentwatchdogandwasaplaintiffinthe
Brownvs.BoardofEducation
lawsuitfiledbythelateCharlesScottSr.Ms.Davisisataxpayerandeducationadvocatewhoregularlyfilesopenrecordsrequestswithgovernmententitiestoanalyzehowtaxpayerdollarsarespentanddisseminatestheresultstothepublic.Ms.DavisrevieweddocumentsthatshowDekalbCountygave 10,000.00toPartnershipGwinnett.
Ms.
DavisisinterestedinsupportingpublicaccesstorecordstoshowwhateconomicdevelopmentactivitiestheGwinnettChamberofCommerce
 
conductedonbehalfofGwinnettCounty.Ms.DavisbelievestheOpenRecordsAct
is
criticaltoGeorgiacitizens'abilitytobeinformedabouttheirlocalgovernmentanditiswiththisinmindthatViolaDavisstronglysupportsMs.SmithinherefforttosecurefullcompliancewiththeAct'smandates,includingadeterminationthattheGwinnettChamberofCommerceisdeclaredsubjecttosuchAct.
INTRODUCTION
AmicuscuriaenamedaboverespectfullysubmitsthisbrieftoaddresstheissueofwhetherPlaintiff,SabrinaSmith,hasbeenwrongfullydeniedaccessto publicrecordsasaresultofGwinnettChamberofCommerce
 S
contentionthatitisaprivateentitynotsubjecttotheGeorgiaOpenRecordsAct(herein Act )
(despite
receivingnearly
 3.5
milliondollarsinpublicfundingoverthelastfiveyears,as wellascarryingout economicdevelopment onbehalfofGwinnettCountyandits
SchoolDistrict).
OnFebruary28,2012,SabrinaSmith(Plaintiff )deliveredarequestpursuanttoprovisionsoftheGeorgiaOpenRecordsAct(the Act )totheGwinnettChamberofCommerce( DefendantChamber ).Plaintiffrequesteddocumentsthatidentifiedthepublicentitieswhichprovidedfundingin2010,alongwiththeamountoffundingprovided.HerrequestwasbasedonDefendantChamber's2010Form990,whichindicatedthat35percentofitsfundingcamefromgovernmentgrants.
Additionally,
Ms.Smithcontendsthatthe
 
DefendantChamberissubjecttotheActbythevirtueofsaidDefendantperformingsignificantfunctionsforbothGwinnettCountyandGwinnettCountySchoolDistrict,namely,
 
economicdevelopment. 
DefendantChamberrespondedonMarch1,2012,citingthatitisanon-profitorganizationthatdoesnotreceivemorethan331/3percentoffundsfromdirectallocationoftaxfundsandisthereforenotsubjecttotheAct(whilenotaddressingtheissueofbeingsubjecttotheActbywayofperforming
 
economicdevelopment forthosegovernmentalentities).OnOctober10,2012,Plaintiffrenewedherdemandforinspectionofpublicrecords.DefendantChamberhascontinuedtorestateitsoriginalpositionasreasoningforitsnon-disclosureinthelettersdatedOctober11,2012,andOctober16,2012.MOSTRECENTLY(September23,2013),PLAINTIFFHAS
REQUESTEDADDITIONALRECORDSFROMDEFENDANTCHAMBER,
ANDHASBEENMETWITHTHESAMEOBSTRUCTION,HURDLES,ANDREFUSALTOCOMPLYWITHTHEACT.AmicuscuriaebelievesthatunderabroadreadingoftheOpenRecordsAct,DefendantChamberisanagencyofGwinnettCountyandGwinnettCountySchoolDistrict,andhasintentionallyandknowinglyrefusedtohonorlawfulrequests,wrongfullydenyingPlaintiffaccess topublicrecords.Suchrefusalandnon-complianceisaclearandpresentthreattoopen

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