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Business owner updates appeal of his right to know petition

Published February 09. 2012 05:01PM

A Jim Thorpe business owner, who appealed the Carbon County Court of Common Pleas' ruling of his Right to Know petition for information regarding the constitutionality of a county industrialization project is again speaking out in the hopes of getting the ruling overturned in Commonwealth Court.

Robert P. Dages, owner of Vision Stone Stoves and a member of the Carbon County Constitutionalists, recently updated his appeal against the County of Carbon in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.

He noted that he is waiting for a ruling on his appeal, and that it appears no oral arguments will be heard by the court.

According to the Commonwealth docket sheet for the appeal, the case is still active and awaiting consideration.

In his updated brief, Dages again recounts his attempts to receive the name of a case law, which was cited by county Commissioner William O'Gurek regarding the Packerton Business Park project; and recants statements that the county presented to the court. The conversation about the case law originally began on June 17, 2010, after guests at the commissioners' meeting asked about the constitutionality of the Packerton project.

Dages states that Carbon County Judge Steven Serfass and Audrey Buglione, Esq., of the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records in Harrisburg, "failed to consider the facts and law" and "blindly accepted the two affidavits (requesting the cited case law) without question.

Dages initially filed the appeal with Commonwealth Court on August 2011.

In the appeal, he said that numerous requests for the case law were denied, including through the county Right to Know office and the state Office of Open Records (OOR) in Harrisburg. Each time, officials stated that the case law was protected by attorney-client privilege between the commissioners and the county solicitor Michael Ozalas. Attorney-client privilege is not covered under the Right to Know Act.

Dages appealed the rulings each time, eventually ending up in Carbon County Court of Common Pleas in 2011.

On July 1, Judge Serfass denied Dages' appeal, upholding the previous rulings for the request for information, which rejected Dages' requests because the information was protected by attorney-client privilege.

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