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All legal avenues exahusted, Bloomberg must make public emails concerning the hiring of Cathie Black.
Mayor Bloomberg's fight to keep emails concerning the hiring Cathie Black, whose catastrophic careeras school chancellor lasted all of 100 days, has finally ended, and Bloomberg has lost.
The storystretches back to 2010, when Sergio Hernandez, then aVillage Voiceintern, filed a Freedom of Information Law request for emails related to Black's hiring. The city first delayed, then refused. Hernandez appealed, and the city refused again. So he sued, represented pro bono by Schlam Stone & Dolan, and he won.
But the Bloomberg administration really didn't want to let those emails see the light of day; it spent upwards of $25,000 in taxpayer funds fighting the case, appealing to succesively higher courts, consistently losing every time.
Finally, today, the state's highest courtdeclined to hear the final appeal. The city will have to abide by theinitial ruling, which called the city's arguments "particularly specious" and "wholly devoid of merit," and required it to turn over the emails to Hernandez within 15 days.
A call to the New York City Law Department was not returned by the time this was posted -- we'll update when we receive their comment.
For his part, Hernandez, who now works as senior business editor forThe Weekand as a freelance contributor forProPublica, says he welcomes the court's denial of Bloomberg's appeal. "This is their last stop," he said. "It's a relief to finally have it over with. I'll be curious to see what's in the emails."
He told theVoicehe intends to write about what he finds, and is talking with news outlets interested in publishing what he writes.
Black and Bloomberg staffers discuss
reaching out to politicians, businesswomen and other prominent figures
in an effort to secure signatures for a letter of support. Caroline
Kennedy, Carolyn Maloney, Gloria Steinem and Donna Hanover were some of
the names compiled in a list of planned phone calls.
Black also emails Gayle King, a close friend of Oprah Winfrey, in an effort to secure the media mogul's support.
Read the emails here.
The emails were requested by a
journalist under the Freedom of Information Law. City lawyers contended
the emails were exempt from the law.
Sergio Hernandez sued the
administration after officials denied his request for emails concerning
Black's hiring and brief tenure in 2011.
A judge ordered the city to release the emails. The city appealed, and an Appellate Court upheld the judge's decision.
The city had sought to appeal to the Court of Appeals. The court rejected that motion Thursday.
A spokeswoman for the city Law Department said they would comply with the order.