Sunday, March 24, 2013
Civic Virtue cover up!
In our continual pursuit of the truth behind the circumstances of the removal of Triumph of Civic Virtue, we have received some tangential documentation from the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) in response to our FOIL request, but not the information that we actually asked for. Among these documents are the Request for Proposals (RFPs) for services related to preservation of the statue and construction of the armature used for its transport to Green-Wood, in which we have found something quite unusual.
As a former intern with NYC Small Business Services, I had the opportunity to post several dozen RFPs. All of them were posted 3-4 weeks before the submission deadline for interested contractors, and often longer when addenda were involved. On DCAS' own open list of RFPs, this 3-4 week period is also followed. The RFPs related to Triumph of Civic Virtue however, were posted only 7 and 8 days prior to the submission deadline. This quick window is bewildering, especially given the intricate nature of the construction work involved. Furthermore, the required time period for public notice of RFPs appears to be set at 20 days by the Procurement Policy Board. DCAS has also not provided any communications pertaining to the removal of the statue that might have occurred with contractors prior to this time, and refuses to provide any of the communications that took place between itself or any other city agencies and Green-Wood cemetery related to the removal, citing attorney-client privilege.
We spoke to attorneys at the Committee on Open Government in Albany regarding this situation, and their assessment is that DCAS does not have the right to deny these records. We are considering what legal course of action to take at this point in order to receive what we have still not received months ago, namely, all records of communication. Some generalist attorneys have already expressed interest in representing us, but we are still looking for counsel with experience in matters of preservation, records access, procurement, or other NYC municipal procedure to examine documents, research the city and state statutes, and determine other help precedent that might better advise city or state legal authorities reviewing our case.
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