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Polk County assessor accused of violating open records law

March 3, 2018

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Public Information Board has charged Polk County Assessor Randy Ripperger with violating Iowa’s open records law.

The Des Moines Register says Ripperger is accused of wrongly denying public access to a list of 2,166 Polk County property owners who have had their names removed from the assessor’s website search engine. That makes it impossible for others to determine what properties those entities own through an online search.

The case is an administrative proceeding, not a court trial. Either the board itself or an administrative law judge will preside over a June 21 hearing. A board prosecutor is seeking an order directing Ripperger to disclose the list of property owners and pay unspecified damages.

Ripperger has cited a state law that allows governmental agencies to keep confidential certain communications. Ripperger says his office grants every request for removal it receives from property owners, who he says are generally public officials.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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