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Newspaper not entitled to attorney fees in records lawsuit

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Supreme Court says a newspaper isn’t entitled to fees in a records dispute.

The Racine Journal Times asked the Racine police commission in 2012 for records of the votes to reopen a search for a new police chief taken during a closed meeting that February. A city attorney said no records existed and the newspaper sued. Days later the attorney sent the newspaper an email explaining how each commissioner voted.

The newspaper argues it deserves attorney fees because it essentially prevailed in its lawsuit. The commission countered it never violated the open records law because no record existed.

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday no record existed at the time of the request.

The Journal Times’ attorney, Bob Dreps, says the decision creates confusion into the open records law.

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