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Commissioners reject Lamkin’s appeal for reduced FOIA fees

Lamkin and BoC 5/22/23

A Hamburg woman sought an audience with the Board of Commissioners to appeal the fee associated with a FOIA request in the latest incident in a decades-long property dispute. Mary Ann Lamkin is currently seeking information from the Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office in regard to her most recent altercation with the police in November 2022. Livingston County legal counsel explained that the board could either uphold, reduce, or waive the fee in question. 

Lamkin asserts that the Hamburg Township Police– as well as the Livingston County judicial system– have been targeting her for over 44 years, with the most recent incident between Lamkin and authorities taking place on November 11, 2022, after a police cruiser reportedly passed her home several times. She then alleged that the vehicle was on her property without a warrant and without probable cause. In addressing the Board of Commissioners, Lamkin claimed that the presence of the police cruiser infringed upon her Fourth Amendment rights. Lamkin also explained that once the police cruiser had passed her house, she refused to allow them to leave, which led to a confrontation with the police. 

During her nearly ten minutes of addressing the board during the call to the public, Lamkin asserted that Island Shore Drive “has never been a private road” and explained that the road itself is not on her property. Lamkin and her husband both refuted this statement in a discussion of past incidents. Lamkin quoted her husband as stating that “there was no reason to take her from her own property… we own the property.”

This statement has been repeatedly refuted by both Hamburg Township and Livingston County.

A 2016 document from the Michigan Court of Appeals explains that Lamkin and her husband have “been involved in a considerable number of prior civil actions involving their efforts… and convicted of several crimes arising out of their prior efforts, to preclude the use of Island Shore Drive by others.” It was estimated that Lamkin’s numerous civil actions had cost Hamburg Township $137,000 in legal fees in one five-year period. 

Chairman Dave Domas explained that the Board of Commissioners doesn’t “have the authority to change whatever legal  disposition there has been regarding [Lamkin’s] suit.”

Lamkin, however, merely wanted the board to alter or waive the estimated fees for two FOIA requests, one being valued at $300.70 and the other being valued at $197.98. Lamkin claimed that she had been told that it would take “six hours for an associate prosecutor to search for documents.”She argued against this estimate and was under the impression that all necessary documents were easily accessible through individual computers or databases.

The Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office made it clear that all information regarding Lamkin’s most recent arrest would be made available pursuant to payment. Assistant Prosecutor William Worden– who specializes in Appeals– explained that the FOIA process is a complex one.

“FOIA cost estimates are based on the amount of time, personnel, and resources necessary to fulfill the request,” Worden explained. Furthermore, the amount of FOIA requests has increased drastically: over the past 21 weeks, the Prosecutor’s Office has received 22 FOIA requests, as compared to the 28 requests received over the entirety of 2022. 

Worden went on to add that the Prosecutor’s Office uses an individualized cost estimate formula and that adopting the more expansive formula used by Livingston County would actually end up being more costly for those seeking information. 


Ultimately, the Board of Commissioners voted 6-2 to uphold the FOIA fees, with commissioners Domas and Fiani opposing.  Commissioner Jay Drick recused himself due to a conflict of interest, having previously served as Lamkin’s attorney in one of her many civil suits.  


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