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NEWSDAY - FEB. 6, 2002
The Paper Chase Is On: Protests over Rudy documents in private hands
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 their release.

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.


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Defending the archives contract: Saul Cohen, President, Rudy Giuliani Center for Urban Affairs