Perrotto drops Rashkin open records request

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Thursday, July 14, 2011
— Former Janesville City Council member Frank Perrotto has withdrawn an open records request he filed last month with the city of Janesville in an attempt to probe council member Yuri Rashkin's online communication.

In an email sent July 7 to City Attorney Wald Klimczyk, Perrotto withdrew the request, thanking city legal staff for its help and courtesy.

In an interview Wednesday, Perrotto said he had concerns that Rashkin was handling city business "outside of the perimeters of the city's website" and outside the purview of the public eye.

Perrotto said he wanted to review emails and other online documents going as far back as 2008 to try to learn whether Rashkin was "doing anything he shouldn't have been doing on various media and social networking websites."

Perrotto said he dropped the request because he believed it had become a burden on city staff.

"I just felt that it was starting to take up way too much time from the staff standpoint. I didn't want to see the city spend any more money than it has to," Perrotto said.

"Quite frankly, he's not worth it. I'd rather have the taxpayers save money."

Perrotto filed the open records request following an ethics discussion at a city council meeting June 27. It followed on the heels of a spat he'd had with Rashkin during the April elections.

Days before the elections, Rashkin walked out of a business banquet where Gov. Scott Walker was slated to speak. Rashkin joined protesters who were outside the banquet hall.

Perrotto later wrote an email to Rashkin chastising him for the move. Rashkin threatened to post the email online if Perrotto didn't apologize. Perrotto didn't apologize, and Rashkin posted the email.

The exchange between the two eventually was forwarded to teachers union members, although Rashkin told the Gazette he did not forward the emails.

Perrotto lost his council seat in the April election. He has publicly blamed Rashkin for the loss, saying Rashkin grandstanded and ran a campaign that targeted Perrotto.

Rashkin earlier said he'd gladly comply with Perrotto's open records request, but Rashkin said he wanted Perrotto to specify what content he was interested in seeing.

Rashkin indicated in a blog post that Perrotto's request was so vague it was forcing Rashkin to wade through some 45,000 emails, text messages and Facebook postings.

Perrotto wouldn't specify exactly what he was looking for. But Perrotto said that prior to withdrawing his request, he'd already received some emails from the city.

He said he's since deleted them, and said he doesn't remember if Rashkin was the author of any of them.

Perrotto noted that at no time did the city decline or deny any part of

his request. He called city legal staff's response "forthright and cooperative."

Earlier this month, Perrotto also demanded that Rashkin make a public apology for complaining about Perrotto's open records request in a blog post, threatening legal action if he didn't.

Perrotto said Rashkin has not contacted him and has not apologized, but Perrotto said he no longer plans to sue.

"I love the city too much to put it through something like that. Again, he's not worth that," he said.

Perrotto said at this point, he considers the subject closed.

Rashkin said he's glad.

"I hope everything moves forward now. There's other important things for the city to work on for the community, and that's what I'm doing," Rashkin said.

Last updated: 5:54 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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