City of New York’s systemic FOIL violations referred to U.S. Attorney’s Office in a complaint

A pattern and practises investigation was requested of excessive delays in processing FOIL Requests

By Progress New York Staff

A complaint was filed on Wednesday with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New York’s southern district, asking that Federal prosecutors investigate the systemic violations of the Freedom of Information Law by the City of New York. The State open records law requires that requested records be released within 20 Business Days, according to a guidance document provided by the New York State Committee on Open Government. Yet, the City of New York can routinely indicate that it will take over 100 Business Days to process open records requests.

The complaint was filed by a reporter of Progress New York after the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) indicated that it would take one year for the City to process a FOIL Request seeking records about the Brooklyn-Queens Connector, or BQX, and about two of his Town Hall meetings.

The long delays in processing open records requests by the New York City Council and other Municipal Agencies were cited as examples in the complaint. The complaint also noted that many reporters had experiences with open records requests taking over one year to process.

The complaint was filed after the Committee on Open Government advised that it could not compel Agencies of the City of New York to comply with the State open records law.

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