More Columbia News: Court Denies State Appeal in FOIL Case

columbia1 More Columbia News: Court Denies State Appeal in FOIL CaseThe major landowner fighting Columbia University’s expansion, Nick Sprayregen, today came out victorious over the state’s Empire State Development Corporation today in an appellate court ruling on a case involving the Freedom of Information Law.

The case concerned the release of documents and correspondences between the state and its contractor AKRF, mostly surrounding the creation of a blight study (slated for release Thursday).

Mr. Sprayregen, represented by attorney Norman Siegel, defeated the state at the first level last year, with the court offering criticism that the same contractor, AKRF, was used for both the blight study and the environmental review.

"It basically says that we’re entitled to all these development documents because AKRF was not neutral and represented the interests of Columbia," Mr. Siegel said.

ESDC spokesman Warner Johnston said in a statement that the state would release the remaining documents.

"The vast majority of documents that the court ruled were subject to FOIL, ESDC had already made public," he said. "To the extent that there are additional documents subject to FOIL, we will release them expeditiously. We are gratified that the court rejected plaintiff’s additional claims."