NYCLU Letter to NYS Department of State Regarding the Giuliani Papers
NEW YORK CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION
125 Broad Street, 17th Floor
New York, NY 10004
Telephone (212) 344-3005, Fax (212) 344-3318
February 6, 2002
Robert Freeman, Executive Director
New York State Department of State
Committee on Open Government
41 State Street
Albany, NY 12231
Re: Advisory Opinion concerning a Contract between the City of New York and the
Rudolph W. Giuliani Center for Urban Affairs Inc.
Dear Mr. Freeman:
Pursuant to section 89(1)(b)(ii) of the New York Public Officers Law, we seek an
advisory opinion from the Committee on Open Government on the following issues.
We request the Committee to review the attached contract, dated December 24,
2001, between the City of New York and the Rudolph W. Giuliani Center for Urban
Affairs Inc. (the "Contract"). Pursuant to the terms of the Contract, all of the
records of the Giuliani mayoralty were transferred out of the direct custody and
control of the New York City Department of Records and Information Services and
the Municipal Archives ("DORIS") to a private warehouse facility storage space
controlled by the Rudolph W. Giuliani Center for Urban Affairs Inc.
We request that you issue an advisory opinion as to whether the procedural and
substantive provisions set forth in the Contract violate New York State's Freedom
of Information Law.
In addition to the more obvious provisions of the Contract, such as that set
forth in Article I(M), which purports to authorize Mr. Giuliani to claim
unilaterally a "personal interest or right" in a document and to thereby withhold
disclosure of the document, we also request that you consider whether the actions
of DORIS in transmitting the records of the Giuliani mayoralty to custody of the
Giuliani Center without the compilation of a more detailed list than that
appended to the Contract as Attachment A constitutes a violation of section
87(3)(c) of the Public Officer Law.
The facts, as we understand them, surrounding the execution of the Contract and
the subsequent transfer of the records of the Giuliani mayoralty are as follows.
On or about December 24, 2001, Commissioner George Rios, on behalf of the City of
New York and/or the Department of Records and Information Services of the City of
New York, entered into a contract with the Rudolph W. Giuliani Center for Urban
Affairs Inc., signed by Saul Cohen, President, concerning the records of the
mayoralty of Rudolph Giuliani. The records are said to comprise some 2000 boxes
and include appointment books, cabinet meeting audiotapes, e-mails, telephone
logs, advance and briefing memos, correspondence, transition materials, and
private schedules, as well as Mr. Giuliani's departmental, travel, event,
subject, and Gracie Mansion files. Giuliani's "World Trade Center files" and
"Millennium Project files," together with 6000 files of photographs, 1000
audiotapes, and 15,000 videotapes, are also reported to be a part of the records
covered by the contract. In addition, the records include those of his chief of
staff and every deputy mayor, together with their chiefs of staff. Finally, gifts
such as plaques, awards, personalized clothing, and other items presented to the
mayor and deputy mayors, as well as World Trade Center-related materials are
alleged to be included as part of the records. All of these items were reported
to have been delivered from the control of the City to a warehouse storage
facility in Long Island City at the end of December 2001. We are unaware that
DORIS has compiled a more detailed list of the records transferred than that
appended to the Contract as Attachment A.
We thank the Committee for its prompt attention to our request. Should you have
any questions with reference to our request, please feel free to contact either
any of us at 212.344.3005.
Very truly yours,