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San Juan, PR – The Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, in Spanish) today sued the Puerto Rico Land Authority (ATPR, in Spanish) for ignoring a request for access to public information about the composition and minutes of its Governing Board.   

Since January 23, 2024, journalist and founder of Bonita Radio, Carmen Enid Acevedo, who received a scholarship from the CPI Journalism Training Institute, requested by email from Irving Rodríguez executive director of the ATPR the minutes of the Governing Board meetings, the composition of the Board, and who have been its secretaries from 2018 to the present, . After several days without getting a response, the journalist went to the Land Authority headquarters to follow up.

She was told it was necessary to submit her request for information, again, in writing. After making the requested arrangements and informing at least three agency officials about the request, in person and in writing, including the executive director of the ATPR, Irving Rodríguez, Acevedo  waited for several days without getting a response and then called the agency several times until they told her again that they were working on her request. But as of today, more than 10 weeks after the original request, the requested information has not been received.

The CPI is asking the court to order the Land Authority to provide the minutes of the agency’s Governing Board meetings, in digital PDF format. In addition, the names of all the people who have been part of said Board from 2017 to the present, including the dates on which they have held their positions and who have been their secretaries, according to filing by attorneys Luis José Torres. Asencio, Steven P. Lausell Recurt and Judith Berkan of the Inter American University Law Schools’ Legal Assistance Clinic, representing the CPI.

“All the information requested is public information and of high public interest for the people of Puerto Rico. What’s requested isn’t protected in any way by any privilege or claim of confidentiality and isn’t covered under some of the exceptions to the right of access to information,” said Carla Minet, executive director of the CPI.

In prior cases, the same Superior Court has ordered the disclosure of minutes of meetings of Boards of Directors of government entities. In the case of CPI vs. Rivera Ríos, the court ordered the delivery of the minutes of the State Insurance Fund Corporation Board of Directors meetings between 2009 and 2012. In the case of the Citizen Commission for the Comprehensive Public Credit Audit v. Puerto Rico Infrastructure Financing Authority, the court ordered the delivery of minutes from its Board of Directors in which they approved bond issues and private placements between 1988 and 2015.

“The actions and omissions of the Land Authority in not providing the requested public information undermine our constitutional rights of access to information and freedom of the press, which is why the Court must order the agency to comply with its duty,” said the executive director of the CPI.

Read the judicial review request here:

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