America journalist and humorist Finley Peter Dunne said that “the job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” One independent reporter, Sergio Hernandez then at the Village Voice, took the motto seriously: he sought to uncover the email exchanges between Cathie Black and City Hall in the early days of her appointment. Why had she been appointed? How was the city handling her appointment?
Sergio realized that inter-agency emails are generally protected from Freedom of Information requests, but Cathie Black was not a City employee at the time of her appointment and her communications with the City were not protected from public view. For two years, he battled with the City in court to release the emails. When they further-entrenched themselves, he lurched forward to uncover the costs of their legal defense: more than 168 hours and $25,461.42 in litigation time.