Thursday, December 8, 2011

Team Bloomberg plans appeal against release of Cathie Black emails

Emails are private ‘interagency and intraagency materials’: Lawyer

Wednesday, December 7 2011, 4:20 PM

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is trying to keep emails about former schools chancellor Cathie Black (pictured left) under wraps.

Mike Bloomberg readily gives up cash to get elected, but he doesn’t give up his emails quite so easily — especially when they are about his appointment of Cathie Black as schools chancellor.

Bloomberg’s lawyers announced Wednesday that the administration is appealing a judge’s order to turn over the emails, which are being sought by a investigative reporter for ProPublica.

“We believe the emails are exempt from FOIL [the Freedom of Information Law\] and are filing an appeal [Wednesday\],” said Connie Pankratz, deputy director of communications for the law department.

Late last month, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Alice Schlesinger rejected the mayor’s reasons for hiding emails from late last year just before he tapped the Hearst organization’s president for the job.

City lawyers had argued that the emails were exempt because Black, and her publishing aides were “defacto agents of the city” when they exchanged emails with City Hall about Black’s qualifications.

The lawyers said that designation made the emails exempt from disclosure because they were “interagency and intraagency materials.”

Elizabeth Wolstein, the attorney for reporter Sergio Hernandez, said “the appeal seems like a waste of time because their theory is not one that’s ever been accepted by any court or has any basis in the statute.”

Black’s appointment was initially challenged by state officials because she did not have any education experience. They ultimately caved, but Black lasted only 96 days before leaving under pressure.

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