An appeals court unanimously ruled Wednesday that the city must honor NY1's request for all correspondence between City Hall and the powerful consulting firm BerlinRosen, which is led by longtime outside adviser Jonathan Rosen.
The city argued that even though Rosen and several other private consultants were not public servants, they served as "agents of the city," exempting them from Freedom of Information requests.
The victory was the latest development in a three-year-long Freedom of Information battle with Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Hall. Here is a timeline of the battle:
April 1, 2015: First report on Jonathan Rosen
Grace Rauh reports that Rosen, one of the "Agents of the City," and his PR firm wield influence behind the scenes at City Hall.
April 8, 2015: Mayor says he will continue to seek Rosen's advice
"He doesn't represent the interests of his clients when he talks to me. He is someone who I turn to advice on a whole host of issues that have nothing to do with his clients," de Blasio said.
May 19, 2016: City Hall releases names of "Agents of the City"
In addition to Rosen, the names released are Bill Hyers and Nicholas Baldick of the firm Hilltop Public Solutions, and John Del Cecato of AKPD Message and Media. Patrick Gaspard, the U.S. ambassador to South Africa, is also included on the list.
September 9, 2016: NY1 sues City Hall for emails
NY1 and the New York Post sue the city over the refusal to release emails between the mayor, his aides and the "Agents of the City."
September 9, 2016: Mayor says he is prepared to go to court to keep emails private
De Blasio says the advisers should effectively be treated like city employees and be protected from some Freedom of Information Act requests - even though they are not paid by City Hall.
September 23, 2016: City turns over emails between mayor and "Agents"
NY1 received 87 pages of emails - but when the mayor had something to say, it was often blacked out.
November 23, 2016: More emails released between the mayor and Rosen
The emails showed that Rosen was invited to major policy meetings and included in high-level internal discussions.
"This has become a distraction," de Blasio said. "It shouldn't be a distraction. We've got much more important issues to work on."
December 8, 2016: NY1 lawsuit moves ahead
In court papers, lawyers for NY1 and the New York Post argue that the city has failed to prove that the emails should be kept from the public.
January 31, 2017: NY1 lawsuit goes before judge
The Freedom of Information Act case goes before a judge in state Supreme Court.
February 24, 2017: More 'Agents of the City' documents released
March 23, 2017: NY1 wins lawsuit
A state Surpeme Court judge rules that emails between City Hall and Rosen should be made public.
March 31, 2017: More emails released
A total of 4,346 pages are released. Again, nearly everything de Blasio says is completely redacted.
September 25, 2017: City says it will appeal lawsuit ruling
The mayor's legal team argues that Rosen's messages with the mayor should be protected as if he were a city employee, even though he was never hired by the city of New York.
May 1, 2018: Judges rule in favor of NY1 in case
The ruling from the appellate decision of the state Supreme Court orders the city to release all correspondence between the city and Rosen, as well as paying for all of NY1's legal fees.