Manhattan Transfer


Every jot and tickle of drama surrounding access to Hillary Clinton’s papers gets extensive play in right wing blogs, generally along the lines of “I wonder what she’s hiding” or “Hmmm.”

We can now watch with interest the reaction to the Chicago Tribune’s blow by blow of the ever changing status of Rudy Giuliani’s papers.

After his failed attempt to extend his term in mayor’s office by three months, Rudy’s thoughts apparently turned to History.

As his mayoralty entered it’s final days, the Giuliani appointed Records Department Commissioner signed an agreement transferring his administration’s papers to the Rudolph Giuliani Center for Urban Affairs. The Commissioner says he agreed to give away the papers because the municipal archives’ staff had been halved under Giuliaini:

“We went from 92 people in ’93 to 44 in 2001…That’s the largest percentage drop of any city department. The archives were overstressed.”

giuliani-papers-file-graphic.jpg The agreement gave Giuliani veto over releasing papers: “”whenever Rudolph W. Giuliani has a personal interest or right in a document separate and apart from the interests and rights of the city, his approval shall be required before any such document may be released or disclosed by the center to the public.”

Protests , lawsuits, and City Council legislation turned this back, with Rudy eventually dropping the language and returning the papers. Or so he says.

The city’s records chief says he thinks he got them all, but “I couldn’t testify in court that every paper came back.” And New York historian Michael Wallace told the Tribune “There should always be an asterisk next to any citation of the Giuliani papers, saying … ‘The chain of public custody of these documents was broken…He had to be sued repeatedly to get him to disclose even the most inoffensive material …Somebody with that kind of track record, you don’t want to turn over to him the task of archiving his papers.”

At the time the agreement was signed the Rudy center was but a gleam in the incorporating attorney’s eyes. Even today it’s only existence is as files at Rudy’s corporate offices.

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