NEW YORK, July 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- An independent supporter of the New York City horse-drawn carriage industry has filed an Article 78 petition with the New York Supreme Court asking the court to force Mayor Bill de Blasio to turn over studies and reports relating to his attempt to ban the New York City horse-drawn carriage industry.
Attorney Craig Sheldon filed a series of FOIL requests with the Mayor's Office over the past year seeking information about the environmental assessment study (EAS) of the carriage industry completed by Langan Environmental & Engineering Services. Langan was contracted first to prepare a report on the impact of banning carriage horses, then on the impact of building a stable and housing carriage horses in Central Park.
The selection of Langan in the spring of 2015 to prepare the EAS raised eyebrows with good government watchdogs when it was discovered that Langan CEO, David Gockel, is a NYCLASS supporter. NYCLASS is the organization spearheading attempts to ban carriages in New York City. NYCLASS and two of its board members have contributed substantial sums of money in support of Mayor Bill de Blasio's run for office and his One New York Fund.
Mr. Sheldon's FOIL requests for the Langan records have been denied by the Mayor's Office. "The taxpayers of the city paid Langan, a firm with whose CEO has ties to anti-carriage activists, over $195,000 and we should get to see what we paid for," said Sheldon. Still, the Mayor's Office refuses to release any portion of the Langan reports, including statistical tabulations of data and other factual elements that are always subject to disclosure under FOIL.
"The Mayor claims to champion transparency, but his refusal to provide these documents once again makes a mockery of our Freedom of Information Law," said Sheldon, alluding to previous FOIL request denials by the Mayor regarding Uber and Jonathan Rosen. "Why won't he release the Langan reports?"
According to the petition, de Blasio's position on banning horse-drawn carriages was not supported by the facts and shifted as he received more and more contributions from animal rights activists at NYCLASS, culminating with a proposed law in December 2014 to completely ban the industry. The bill was withdrawn from consideration after the Mayor's staff was unable to marshal facts to support the bill at a public hearing in January 2016 and the Teamsters, which represents the carriage drivers, announced its opposition to the bill on February 4, 2016.
The NYC horse-drawn carriage industry is an iconic part of New York, employing hundreds of dedicated, hard-working men and women, caring for healthy, well-trained horses. The industry consists of dozens of small business owners, many of which have been passed down from generation to generation. These family businesses would have been destroyed if the ban was enacted and the hundreds of drivers and other industry workers would have lost their jobs as well.
A copy of the petition is available for viewing at: https://db.tt/EKHNTAkE
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/mayor-de-blasio-sued-over-refusal-to-disclose-records-related-to-carriage-horse-ban-300295815.html
SOURCE Law Office of Craig L. Sheldon