NEWSDAY - FEB. 6, 2002
By Curtis L. Taylor; STAFF WRITER
A group of historians and archivists plan to demonstrate on the steps of City
Hall today to protest a last-minute deal allowing a private organization to store
the papers of former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
The protestors plan to present Mayor Michael Bloomberg with a petition asking him
to reconsider the agreement giving control of the papers to the Rudolph Giuliani
Center for Urban Affairs, an organization comprising colleagues of the former
mayor. The petition has been signed by 850 scholars, government officials and
journalists. "We should not be asked to trust any private individual," said
historian Mike Wallace, co-author of "Gotham: A History of New York City to
1898." "It should remain in public hands."
City Council Deputy Minority Leader Bill Perkins (D-Manhattan) said that Giuliani
was breaking with "hundreds of years of tradition" by not turning control of the
papers over to the city.
Under an agreement signed a week before Giuliani left office, the city "retains
ownership" and "ultimate control" of the papers but Giuliani has veto power over
During a debate with Wallace on NY1 last night, former Queens College president
Saul Cohen, head of Giuliani's archival group, defended the deal and said
Giuliani's primary concern is that the documents be properly indexed and stored.
He said the city does not have the means to preserve the 2,114 boxes of papers.
"The public should trust him because this is very important in terms of the
preservation of the legacy for the city and for somebody who has become a
national leader," Cohen said.
The records, which are being stored at a private facility in Long Island City,
include "World Trade Center-related materials," briefing memos, 6,000 files of
photographs and negatives, and Giuliani's public and private schedules.
A spokesman for Bloomberg said he would have no comment until he has seen the
petition. Bloomberg's top lawyers signed off on the deal, and the mayor has
previously said he has no plans to pull out of it.
Copyright 2002 Newsday, Inc.
Reprinted with permission.