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Bloomberg Loses Final Appeal to Keep Emails Secret

Mayor Bloomberg's fight to keep emails concerning the hiring Cathie Black, whose catastrophic career as school chancellor lasted all of 100 days, has finally ended, and Bloomberg has lost.

The story stretches back to 2010, when Sergio Hernandez, then a Village Voice intern, filed a Freedom of Information Law request for emails related to Black's hiring. The city first delayed, then refused. Hernandez appealed, and the city refused again. So he sued, represented pro bono by Schlam Stone & Dolan, and he won.

But the Bloomberg administration really didn't want to let those emails see the light of day; it spent upwards of $25,000 in taxpayer funds fighting the case, appealing to succesively higher courts, consistently losing every time.

Finally, today, the state's highest court declined to hear the final appeal. The city will have to abide by the initial ruling, which called the city's arguments "particularly specious" and "wholly devoid of merit," and required it to turn over the emails to Hernandez within 15 days.

A call to the New York City Law Department was not returned by the time this was posted -- we'll update when we receive their comment.

For his part, Hernandez, who now works as senior business editor for The Week and as a freelance contributor for ProPublica, says he welcomes the court's denial of Bloomberg's appeal. "This is their last stop," he said. "It's a relief to finally have it over with. I'll be curious to see what's in the emails." He told the Voice he intends to write about what he finds, and is talking with news outlets interested in publishing what he writes.

[npinto@villagevoice.com] [@macfathom]

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