Request to the NYC Municipal Archives for the Kings county (Brooklyn) "Old Town" microfilms

Reclaim The Records filed this request with the Department of Records and Information Services of New York City, NY.
Tracking #

FOIL-2018-860-00156

Est. Completion Aug. 21, 2018
Status
In Litigation

Communications

From: Reclaim The Records

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the New York Freedom of Information Law, and acting on behalf of the 501(c)3 non-profit organization Reclaim The Records, I hereby request microfilm copies of the approximately 143 microfilm rolls of the Kings county (Brooklyn) "Old Town" records. These microfilms were originally created by St. Francis College and were given to the New York City Municipal Archives with other materials circa 1988. In a previous FOIL request to your agency that was resolved a few weeks ago, we received a PDF copy of the finding aid to these microfilms from the Archives , to which your agency may refer if needed.

These documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes. We are going to digitize all the microfilms and put them online for free public use.

Please inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling the request.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires, as required by law.

Sincerely,

Brooke Schreier Ganz
President and Founder, Reclaim The Records
https://www.reclaimtherecords.org/

From: Reclaim The Records

Hi Mr. Cobb,

I am just following up on this FOIL request that we submitted to you last week. Since it's now after 5 PM on the east coast where you are, the Archives is now past the "five business days" window to respond, as required by the law. May I please have an update on this request?

I remain ready and willing to pay for the record copies. Thanks.

- Brooke Schreier Ganz

From: Department of Records and Information Services

Your request FOIL-2018-860-00156 has been successfully submitted to the Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS). The details of your request are shown below.

Request Title: Kings County (Brooklyn) "Old Town" Records microfilm rolls
Request Description: Requesting copies of approximately 143 microfilm rolls of the Kings County (Brooklyn) "Old Town" records originally created by St. Francis College and given to the New York City Municipal Archives with other materials circa 1988.

Attached File: Reclaim_The_Records_FOIL_Request_dated_July_17_2018_via_MuckRock.com_58345-90567227.docx:
Reclaim_The_Records_FOIL_Request_dated_July_17_2018_via_MuckRock.com_58345-90567227.docx (https://a860-openrecords.nyc.gov/response/196645?token=f1a53e7b15ae4ca09b74ad0e64c1f552)

Requester's Contact Information



Name:
Brooke Schreier Ganz

Title:
Founder and President, Reclaim the Records

Organization:
Reclaim the Records

Email:
requests@muckrock.com (mailto:requests@muckrock.com)

Phone Number:
Not provided

Fax Number:
Not provided

Street Address (line 1):
Not provided

Street Address (line 2):
Not provided

City:
Not provided

State:
Not provided

Zip Code:
Not provided

You can view the request and take any necessary action at the following webpage: https://a860-openrecords.nyc.gov/request/view/FOIL-2018-860-00156. (https://a860-openrecords.nyc.gov/request/view/FOIL-2018-860-00156)
DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL. For information or questions about this request please use the Contact the Agency link on the request page in OpenRecords.

From: Department of Records and Information Services

The Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS) has denied your FOIL request FOIL-2018-860-00156 for the following reasons: (https://a860-openrecords.nyc.gov/request/view/FOIL-2018-860-00156) Your request under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) is being closed because the records are publicly available. Please visit FOIL-2018-860-00156 to view additional information and take any necessary action. You may appeal the decision to deny access to material that was redacted in part or withheld in entirety by contacting the agency's FOIL Appeals Officer: (https://a860-openrecords.nyc.gov/request/view/FOIL-2018-860-00156) foil@records.nyc.gov within 30 days. (mailto:foil@records.nyc.gov) Municipal Archives collections, like books in a library, are not subject to FOIL.   Municipal Archives collections are open to the public for research at its facility located at 31 Chambers Street, Manhattan.  There is no charge to conduct research at the Municipal Archives.  T he Municipal Archives recognizes its responsibility to facilitate access to its collections by permitting the reproduction, reprinting, publishing, or other use of archival material. Please contact Kenneth Cobb ( kcobb@records.nyc.gov ) for further guidance regarding a request for duplication and use of archival materials.

Request Information: Request Title: Kings County (Brooklyn) "Old Town" Records microfilm rolls

Request Description: Requesting copies of approximately 143 microfilm rolls of the Kings County (Brooklyn) "Old Town" records originally created by St. Francis College and given to the New York City Municipal Archives with other materials circa 1988.
DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL. For information or questions about this request please use the Contact the Agency link on the request page in OpenRecords.

From: Reclaim The Records

Hi Ken,

I don't mind using the new NYC OpenRecords web portal to submit Reclaim The Records' future FOIL requests -- and we do plan on submitting many, many future FOIL requests to the Archives -- but...

You rejected our simple FOIL request for copies of the Brooklyn "Old Town" microfilms? Microfilms of government records that are open to the public and not restricted? Are you serious?

This is literally the exact same legal issue that we at Reclaim The Records and you at the New York City Municipal Archives went through when we requested the city marriage license indexes from you in 2015. And perhaps you might recall that we won that issue, and won the records, in a lawsuit settlement, right? I mean, I know you personally had to sit for a deposition in the case, so I would think you'd remember?

All records -- yes, ALL -- that are already open and available to the public at the New York City Municipal Archives are covered by FOIL, period. All of them. I know you don't like hearing that, but that is the law. And it's not even a new law or an obscure law, it's over forty years old!

I have to say I'm really disappointed in you, and in the Archives and DORIS, for choosing to waste more time and more taxpayer money going through this exact same issue with us again, and with the exact same dumb reasoning. If you're going to reject our FOIL requests out of hand, could you maybe get some new and improved dumb reasoning, just to keep things spicy?

I mean, your statement "[y]our request under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) is being closed because the records are publicly available" is literally going to get you laughed at by our attorney, your attorney, and the judge. You're flat-out admitting that these are publicly available and non-private non-restricted government-created records held in a government archive -- which by definition means they are covered by FOIL. It's not like this is even some kind of hinky legal grey area, it's the obvious and plain meaning of the law, with decades of court cases to back it up. Including our own court cases!

If you don't believe me, you're welcome to call up Robert Freeman and his legal team at the New York State Committee on Open Government (COOG) in Albany for a free second opinion on this. They are happy to help both FOIL requestors and New York State government agencies learn more about the law. Their consultations are totally free, and they'll usually get back to you within twenty-four hours. Their phone number is (518) 474-2518. Go, call them.

COOG is the same group who drafted and submitted an Advisory Opinion to DORIS on Reclaim The Records' behalf, back during our 2015 lawsuit against you, remember? The one where they warned you in writing that Reclaim The Records was legally entitled to copies of the marriage license index records, but you chose to ignore them anyway? The one where they flat-out told you that yes, all open-to-the-public records at the New York City Municipal Archives are definitely covered by FOIL, specifically including microfilms? To help jog your memory, I have attached a copy of that 2015 Advisory Opinion from COOG to this e-mail. Please, please read it this time.

Based on the data from Reclaim The Records' three (three!) successful lawsuits and settlements with New York City agencies in the past four years, I would estimate that your rejection of this FOIL request is going to cost DORIS probably ten to twelve thousand dollars, when you get done paying both your attorney fees and ours. That's ten to twelve thousand dollars taken from New York City taxpayers, for no obvious reason other than your own stubbornness. I don't even live in New York anymore, but I'm still thoroughly annoyed at that number on their behalf.

Our attorney, Dave Rankin, will be filing the FOIL Appeal with you in the next few days. At that point, you'll probably reject it, and then we'll all move on to the lawsuit, and then you'll be delivering the copies of the records to us and cutting a check to Dave by the end of the year.

We at Reclaim The Records remain ready and willing to file as many lawsuits as it takes for DORIS and the New York City Municipal Archives to accept your responsibilities under the law. Public records belong to the public.

We look forward to winning the copies of these historic Brooklyn records and putting them online for free use, where they belong.

sincerely,

Brooke Schreier Ganz
President of Reclaim The Records

  • Ganz20FOIL20case20-2008-12-201520-20COOG20Advisory20Opinion20issued.pdf

From: Department of Records and Information Services

The Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS) has re-opened your FOIL request FOIL-2018-860-00156 (https://a860-openrecords.nyc.gov/request/view/FOIL-2018-860-00156)
You can expect a response on or about Tuesday, August 21, 2018.
Please visit FOIL-2018-860-00156 to view additional information and take any necessary action. (https://a860-openrecords.nyc.gov/request/view/FOIL-2018-860-00156)
DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL. For information or questions about this request please use the Contact the Agency link on the request page in OpenRecords.

From: Department of Records and Information Services

The Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS) has responded to your FOIL request FOIL-2018-860-00156 with the following file(s). (https://a860-openrecords.nyc.gov/request/view/FOIL-2018-860-00156) The file(s) listed below will be accessible to the public on the OpenRecords portal in 20 business days ( Wednesday, September 19, 2018).


* Appeal Response: 2018-08-21_FOIL_Appeal_-_Old_Town_Records_-_2018-860-00156.pdf (https://a860-openrecords.nyc.gov/response/232109?token=2f1a9ce72e7f402e8a7ce516e155a217)
* Appeal: FW_Administrative_Appeal_FOIL-2018-860-00156_Kings_County_Brooklyn_Old_Town_Records_microfilm_rolls..msg (https://a860-openrecords.nyc.gov/response/232110?token=710802ad0b274e54ae99668dd0a8bb1e) Please visit FOIL-2018-860-00156 to view additional information and take any necessary action. (https://a860-openrecords.nyc.gov/request/view/FOIL-2018-860-00156) DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL. For information or questions about this request please use the Contact the Agency link on the request page in OpenRecords.

From: Department of Records and Information Services

The Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS) has closed your FOIL request FOIL-2018-860-00156 for the following reasons: (https://a860-openrecords.nyc.gov/request/view/FOIL-2018-860-00156)
Appeal response has been attached to request 2018-860-00156.

You may appeal the decision to deny access to material that was redacted in part or withheld in entirety by contacting the agency's FOIL Appeals Officer: foil@records.nyc.gov within 30 days. (mailto:foil@records.nyc.gov)
DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL. For information or questions about this request please use the Contact the Agency link on the request page in OpenRecords.

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  • Ganz20FOIL20case20-2008-12-201520-20COOG20Advisory20Opinion20issued.pdf