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De Blasio Seems to Be Struggling to Fulfill Transparency Pledge

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Mayor Bill de Blasio seems to be struggling to fulfill his promise to bring more transparency to City Hall, as he refused to answer questions Wednesday about his closed-door meeting with real estate developers, and he did not let the media know about a private sit-down with top White House aide Valerie Jarrett until after it was over. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says he is all about openness.

"We want to make sure that we're as transparent as possible," de Blasio said on January 24.

Following through on that pledge, though, is proving to be difficult. Reporters were not allowed to hear the mayor speak at a meeting with real estate developers Wednesday, and the mayor's office did not notify the press about the mayor's sit-down with Valerie Jarrett, President Barack Obama's closest adviser, until it was finished.

The mayor had said that he would keep the reporters more informed about his whereabouts after coming under fire for giving a speech to a pro-Israel lobbing group and not announcing it.

"We're very comfortable telling you where I am," de Blasio said on January 24.

The mayor spoke briefly to reporters on his way out of the Real Estate Board of New York event.

"I talked about a host of things, including my affordable housing plan, but the central purpose of the meeting was for me to make clear how important it is for us to move on pre-k and after school for the future of this city," de Blasio said.

He refused to answer any questions.

"I'll have time for questions tomorrow at the avail. Take care," de Blasio said.

NY1 asked the mayor's aides repeatedly for his closed-door remarks and was told that they would not be released. However, by the afternoon, amid growing criticism, City Hall changed its tune. At 5 p.m., four-and-a-half hours after the meeting ended, the mayor's office sent NY1 a recording of the mayor. It is 12 minutes long. The entire meeting lasted nearly two hours.

The mayor spent most of the time promoting his plan to expand pre-k and after-school programs. He did not say anything particularly newsworthy.

This is the third time that the mayor's office has changed its tune after coming under pressure from reporters. De Blasio opened up his private swearing-in ceremony after first trying to keep reporters out, and his office ultimately allowed television cameras into a real estate party that the mayor was attending last month after NY1 protested a decision to exclude cameras from the event.

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