Baker judge files suit in records request dispute
BAKER – Kirk Williams, the city court judge who made headlines after recording a scuffle with another city official, has filed suit against the city of Baker demanding that they allow him to view public records he had asked to see in September.
Mayor Harold Rideau and the city are named as defendants in the suit, which was filed in district court in Baton Rouge. Williams is also asking a judge to order the defendants to pay a $100 fine each day until he is allowed to view the records he requested.
According to Williams’ petition, he asked to see documents related to a disaster recovery grant that was going to be discussed at a public meeting on Sept. 14, but was told after filing the request that the documents didn’t exist. The petition claims the city used an error in the name of the grant on Williams request in order to deny it.
Williams also claims in the petition that the night before the Sept. 14 meeting, Mayor Rideau told him on the phone that the city had “paid a lot of money to have the grant application prepared” and that he didn’t want that getting out.
Williams filed another records request the day after the meeting for all grant applications and supporting documents the city has sought since 2005, and claims in his suit that the city tried to make him pay for the records, which he alleges is against the law.
A criminal complaint from Williams is currently being investigated by State Police over a Sept. 22 incident involving Baker City Attorney Ron Wall. Williams claimed Wall tried to grab a video camera he was holding and injured him during a confrontation over the records dispute at the courthouse.
The lawsuit was assigned to District Judge Kay Bates, and a hearing has not yet been scheduled in the case.