The Bloomberg administration was ordered to release emails between Cathie Black and members of Mayor Bloomberg's office before she was appointed NYC schools chancellor by State Supreme Court Justice Alice Schlesinger.
A journalist working for the Village Voice asked for the emails under the Freedom of Information Act in 2010 but was denied by Bloomberg's office.
According to Reuters, the Bloomberg administration claimed the emails should not be released because they "would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy."
They also claimed an inter-agency and intra-agency exemption as another reason to withhold the emails.
The journalist, Sergio Hernandez, filed a civil petition to get the emails and Justice Schlesinger found in his favor:
"The conclusory, blanket denials do not satisfy the standard set by the law," she wrote. "What is more, a review of the two claimed exemptions reveals that neither one applies."
The privacy exception, she ruled, was intended to protect "information of a genuinely private nature only" and had to be balanced with the public interest in disclosure. In the case of Black, who was previously the president of Hearst magazines, Schlesinger noted that her background was of particular value to the public, since she required a waiver from the state education department due to her lack of relevant experience.
"As Ms. Black did not meet the credentialing requirements for the all-important position of School Chancellor, the public has the right to know what information about her employment history and qualifications was disclosed in the e-mails," the judge wrote. "Any information of an intensely personal nature could easily be redacted, with the balance of the information disclosed."
Schlesinger also said that the "inter-agency" rule did not apply, as Black was still a private citizen at the time and did not yet work for the city.
The Bloomberg administration says it may appeal the decision and will withhold the emails until they decide what options they will pursue in the matter.
The hypocrisy in this stonewalling of the Black emails is quite stark.
Bloomberg and the NYCDOE can't wait to release the teacher data reports of fourth through eighth grade English and math teachers even though the reports are rife with errors.
They claim releasing the TDR's does not constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy because teachers are public employees so the public has a right to any and all information and evaluations related to them in a work capacity.
But somehow the emails Between Cathie Black and the mayor's staff the public does not have a right to see because the release would "constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy."
Just one more example of two sets of rules in Bloomberg's New York - one for the working schlubs and another for Bloomberg and his corporate cronies.