Ever since Mike Bloomberg planted his well-worn penny loafers onto the debate stage, he’s all but ensured that a policy-focused, forward-looking 2020 Democratic presidential race will be a faint twinkle in the rearview mirror. This is to say that the email fiasco is here, and the culprit is Bloomberg, and there’s no way in hell he’s going to release them. So much for the chatter over climate policy proposals, etc.
BuzzFeed reports that for years, Bloomberg’s camp has brushed off the De Blasio administration’s pleas for the former mayor to release emails sent on private bloomberg.net servers. (Gawker reported on his team’s use of non-city channels in 2013.) Following a March 2016 New York Daily News report, finding that “not a single email sent by Bloomberg during his tenure” had been made public, New York City’s legal counsel began pressing Bloomberg LP’s attorneys for the messages. BuzzFeed has published a two-and-a-half-year-long correspondence, during which time Bloomberg LP turned over 1,590 emails from Bloomberg’s personal account, but none from 15 staff members who were identified by New York City’s legal counsel as “significant users of Bloomberg.net.” It appears that after myriad attempts to cajole them into phone meetings, the city’s lawyers gave up. (Neither representatives for the current administration nor Bloomberg have responded to Gizmodo’s requests for comment.)
Here’s one maddening thread starting with the Bloomberg LP camp, regarding a meeting invitation sent a week prior:
“Good afternoon - Tom is out of the office at Court all week. Will not be about to do to the call tomorrow. Will have to reschedule for another time.”
“Hi, Kati. Subject to Steve’s schedule, is there a time that works for Tom next Monday morning? thanks”
“I will not know his schedule until closer to the end of the week as he is in court. You will have to check back. Apologies”
“Good afternoon, Kati. Would next Monday work? 30 minutes, anytime in the following [lists two time windows]”
“So Tom will be involved in a trial through May and not in the office. In June he is heading to our London office for the first few weeks so I don’t see anytime soon opening up. Perhaps he may be able to a call from there, I’ll have to check with him.”
“How about a call while Tom is in London?”
Weeks later: “Gentle reminder.”
The following month: “Reminder. Thank you.”
That’s a typical exchange. According to BuzzFeed, representatives for the city continued to attempt calling Bloomberg LP into 2019 until they threw in the towel.
Stu Loeser, a spokesperson for the Bloomberg presidential campaign, told BuzzFeed that Bloomberg LP “provided to the City hundreds of thousands of bloomberg.net emails between the Mayor and his staffers regarding City business.” Loeser added that staffers sent emails amongst themselves “on non-City matters,” just like any two coworkers using Gmail for small talk. Loeser did not respond to BuzzFeed’s follow-up question: Did they not use it to discuss city matters at all?
There are few city matters they could have discussed during Bloomberg’s tenure that aren’t critical to understanding whether and how this person will follow through on his campaign promises. The employees included legal and policy advisors, a communications director, deputy mayor, deputy mayor of economic development, and deputy mayor for education. They played part in an administration characterised by sweeping loss of entire neighbourhoods by rezoning or eminent domain, a controversial consolidation of power over a highly segregated school system, a homelessness epidemic, and a stop-and-frisk policing regime.
And another wretched email debacle.