In Bridgeport, waiting years for public records while officials break transparency laws
The city has fallen into a pattern of delaying and stonewalling requests for public records – routinely in violation of state law.
Ned Gerard/Hearst Connecticut Media
The families of Lauren Smith-Fields and Brenda Lee Rawls are
still waiting on officials in Bridgeport to turn over public records surrounding the mysterious deaths of each young woman 14 months ago.
Bobby Simmons, a former city school board member and CPA, waited for over a year to get records that would show how much Bridgeport was paying certain retired city attorneys who he believed were still working for the city as contracted employees and collecting pensions.
Jacqueline Rabe Thomas is a reporter with Hearst Connecticut Media Group. She has been an investigative reporter with Connecticut Public’s Accountability Project, a housing and education reporter with The Connecticut Mirror and a reporter in ProPublica's Local Reporting Network. Her reporting has led to home health care workers getting reimbursed for wages illegally taken from them, undocumented immigrants being able to access outpatient dialysis treatment and no longer having to live in the hospital to receive care, and the top brass at the state's university system being fired. She has a master's in public policy from Trinity College and a journalism degree from Bowling Green State University. She lives in Hartford with her husband, two children and three dogs.
Joshua Eaton is an investigative reporter at Hearst Connecticut Media Group. Before joining Hearst, he was on investigative and enterprise teams at NBC News, CQ Roll Call and ThinkProgress. His work has also appeared at The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The New Republic, Kaiser Health News, Al Jazeera America, The Intercept and elsewhere.
Brian Lockhart is a reporter with the Connecticut Post, covering politics and policy. He also has covered politics for the Stamford Advocate and the city of Norwalk for The Norwalk Hour.