No Public Record of Cuomo and Charters

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office has no public records showing how he came to attend and speak at a massive charter school rally in early March.

WNYC asked the governor's office for records of all communication between the executive chamber and Families for Excellent Schools, the group that organized the rally, and with Success Academy Charter Schools, the charter company at the center of the movement's clash with Mayor Bill de Blasio.

More than three months later, the Cuomo administration says it has no public record of any communication between the governor's office and rally organizers before, during or after the event.

There is no record of an invitation to the event, no record of calls or emails to discuss logistics, no calendar entries showing meetings and only one short email exchange with Success Academy and mid-level administration staffers to circulate court papers not directly related to the rally.

In fact, the administration, which has received large campaign donations from the charter industry, says it has no public records of any communication with the rally organizers and virtually none with Success Academy since Cuomo took office in 2011.

The governor's office did release one email that Success Academy’s CEO, Eva Moskowitz, apparently sent to the office in February. But it was almost entirely redacted.

Moskowitz correspondence


The Cuomo administration has been widely criticized for its lack of transparency.

Blair Horner, legislative director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, says the Cuomo administration has been good about releasing government data.

“But when it comes to governmental decision making, the process by which policy making is done, this governor is as secret as any administration I've ever seen,” Horner said. “They don't want people to know the back-story on how they're running the administration or the communications that drive their policy-making decisions.”

The Governor's Office had no official explanation for the lack of public records on the rally and his decision to attend. Representatives for Success Academies and Families for Excellent Schools had no further comment.