A Jackson Township clerk has responded to an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request for emails pertaining to a matter of litigation by claiming that the records have been destroyed, in what was considered by many to be an illegal instance of email deletion. Upon further pressing, the clerk has doubled down on claims that the emails were deleted, thereby dodging the responsibility of turning over the requested emails. Now, however, the Jackson Township official has backtracked on the claims of deletion and has instead implied that the emails were merely removed from the township’s server.
“In response to your question below, all emails between 2009 and 2016 have not been destroyed, but they are no longer searchable in the same manner as before,” an email from the township clerk states. “Any further OPRA requests will be done manually and will take extended periods of time and effort to complete.”
This correspondence is in direct contradiction to the original claims that the emails were deleted, and it raises anew a plethora of questions regarding the intentions of the township in this apparent cover-up.
“What are they trying to hide?” an askan expressed to Matzav.com. “Who instructed the clerk to request the deletion? Why did the township first insist that the records were deleted, only to change the story later? If these emails do exist, but are no longer on the server, does the township have enough manpower to manually sift through thousands of emails to fulfill OPRA requests? Does this implicate Jackson in the ongoing litigation on allegations of religious bias?”
The shifting narrative suggests that something sinister may be at play, and residents are intent on getting to the bottom of it. Askanim shared that additional OPRA requests were filed in an effort to determine the back-story of this apparent whitewash.