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FOIL-ed! State says it can’t talk security

The Brooklyn Paper
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In October, The Brooklyn Paper filed a Freedom of Information Law request for all documents related to security planning at Atlantic Yards by the Empire State Development Corporation.

Last week, we finally got our long-sought documents. So what did they amount to?

A 10-page affidavit from a Forest City Ratner security consultant that explained why all the plans must be kept classified.

“It is critical to the security of the arena block, and to the safety of the arena’s patrons and neighbors, that this information be maintained in strictest confidence and not be disclosed to anyone other than the owner, the design professionals involved in development of the Project, and appropriate law enforcement agencies,” consultant Jeff Venter argued.

Consider that: we had asked for documents that could shed some light on the security situation at Atlantic Yards and were sent, instead, a document explaining why we had to remain in the dark.

And that isn’t good public policy, said John Goering, a public affairs professor at Baruch College.

“The idea that some bureaucrat at ESDC decided to snub the press doesn’t surprise me,” he said. “But I see no reason why there can’t be a public discussion on it.”

In addition to not fulfilling The Paper’s information request, ESDC demanded $9 for copying costs. We are working on the agency’s request.

Updated 4:34 pm, July 9, 2018
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