The New York City Mayor’s office is not cooperating with, and appears to be slow walking an open records request filed by Colorado reporter, and your author of this article, Todd Shepherd.
On May 29, I sent by certified mail, a New York Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request seeking various documents. These documents could potentially shed more light on how involved Mayor Bloomberg was in Colorado politics earlier in the year.
USPS tracking confirms that my letters were delivered on June 3. According to a section of NY FOIL law, government entities shall:
…. within five business days of the receipt of a written request for a record reasonably described, shall make such record available to the person requesting it, deny such request in writing or furnish a written acknowledgment of the receipt of such request and a statement of the approximate date, which shall be reasonable under the circumstances of the request, when such request will be granted or denied…(emphasis added).
Ok, so they got a little behind. I’m not complaining…yet.
However, that same letter says that I can expect a “status update on this matter in approximately 20 business days.” If I’m counting my holidays correctly, that means I should have been contacted with the status update on or about July 15 or 16.
It’s now August 13, and I have received nothing.
On August 12, early in the morning, I emailed two officers (Ariel Dvorkin and Sami Naim) in the FOIL division of the NYC Mayors Office at City Hall, and asked for a simple email update before close of business on August 13.
They couldn’t even be bothered to send me an email.
As you’ve seen already on the pages of this website, open records have allowed us to know Mayor Bloomberg placed calls to Governor Hickenlooper’s at key moments in the gun debate earlier this year. (KRDO in Colorado Springs followed up on the story.)
What do I expect to learn from any documents I might receive from Bloomberg’s office? Hard to say, but we know for sure nothing can be learned as long as no documents are provided.
Bloomberg’s office is thumbing their nose at the New York Freedom of Information Law. It’s unacceptable, they should be taken to task by other media that care about the integrity of open records laws, and they should prioritize my now-overdue request.
But I won’t hold my breath.
Todd Shepherd is founder and editor-in-chief of CompleteColorado.com. Send him story tips at CompleteColorado@gmail.com.