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City Releases Emails Regarding Hiring Of Former Schools Chancellor Cathie Black

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TWC News: City Releases Emails Regarding Hiring Of Former Schools Chancellor Cathie Black
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Former Schools Chancellor Cathie Black's tenure was brief, but it was not for a lack of strategy on behalf of the mayor's office. NY1's Lindsey Christ looked at email communications between Black and City Hall as they tried to convince New Yorkers she was the best person for the job.

After Mayor Michael Bloomberg chose publishing executive Cathie Black to be schools chancellor in November 2010, his top aides went to work trying to drum up public support.

Their strategy? Celebrity endorsements.

It's all laid out in emails between City Hall and Black, released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request originally filed by reporter Sergio Hernandez.

Although they only cover the 16 days immediately leading up to and following the mayor's surprise announcement, the correspondence reveals how City Hall tried to control the story from the beginning.

Since Black was to be the first woman in charge of the school system, City Hall staffers listed famous women whose endorsement they wanted and suggested 'talking points' that should be used to convince them, including the suggestion that criticism was rooted in sexism.

The list included Whoopi Goldberg, Donna Karan and Gloria Steinem, but the emails show not everyone was responsive. City Hall staffers suggested Caroline Kennedy, saying that she would be "obviously sympathetic" given the media attention Kennedy faced when her name was floated as a Senate candidate.

Black emailed Kennedy, saying, in part, "Though we have met only briefly, I just wanted to reach out and say. No doubt you have seen some if not all of my relentless press of late."

Later emails show that Black did not get a response. The same thing seemed to happen with Rep. Carolyn Maloney. Neither offered their endorsement.

Cathie Black suggested another woman might be more helpful, writing, "Would we want to invite Ivanka Trump? Think she would do."

The response from the mayor's aide? "I would skip."

The biggest success was an effort to win over Oprah, whose magazine Black had published. Dozens of emails show the efforts to reach Oprah through her friend Gayle King. A later email celebrated the Daily News front page that apparently resulted.

The city fought hard to keep these emails from being released, but the state's highest court ordered they be released.

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