Last week a judge dismissed a lawsuit Manchester Alderman At-large Joe Kelly Levasseur brought against radio host Rich Girard. It was inevitable, and it is another indictment of his boorish behavior as a public official.
Last year, Girard sought through the state’s right-to-know law volumes of Levasseur’s email correspondence with certain city employees and some constituents. The city gave Girard 18,000 pages, and Levasseur sued to prevent their public disclosure.
Levasseur claimed he was motivated by a desire to protect the identities of constituents. But he sought to block the disclosure of all of the emails, not just the ones to and from constituents. He also had to have been aware that his publicly stated goal could have been achieved through a simpler action — the redaction of constituent names and addresses.
Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Diane Nicolosi last week ordered just that: the redaction of constituent names and addresses. She also clarified a legal point in Levasseur’s favor, which was already settled law: that emails between a constituent and an elected official are not public documents under state law.
But she rejected Levasseur’s absurd claim that all of the emails should be kept from public view. She granted motions from Girard and City Solicitor Tom Clark to dismiss Levasseur’s suit. In typical fashion, Levasseur claimed victory after the loss. But his transparent attempt to block the release of information that would shed light upon his conduct as a public official failed. Now maybe the public will see what the alderman wanted to keep hidden.